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Spyware Disguised As Popular Social Media App?

A software engineer (reddit user: bangorlol) who currently works to reverse engineer applications has claimed to have reverse engineered the highly popular social media app TikTok. He claims that the application collects gross amounts of data from its users and is a gross "data collection service that is thinly veiled as a social network". For those who don't know, TikTok is a Chinese mobile video sharing app that has recently gained enormous popularity. Users upload videos normally using audio from a library of pre-recorded audio from films or famous catch phrases or songs and many have began to rake in money with their large following with the app.

The engineer posted his discovery to reddit to warn people not to use the app. He claims that the data collection includes but isn't limited to:

  • phone type and dimension

  • all network data - wifi access point name, IP, local IP etc..

  • memory data & usage

  • other apps installed on phone (even deleted ones)

  • all cached data

  • information about users phone contacts

Additionally, he said that he had reported numerous middle aged men soliciting girls as young as 8-10 years old to sing explicit lyrics to songs and disguising it as a viral "duet challenge".

There are many issues with the app, he says, and it makes other social media sites who have already gotten in hot water over data ethics such as Facebook, look like a "data fortress" in comparison. His allegations increasingly raise concern about the intention behind the collection especially considering social tensions with China over the past year.

He advices that everyone cease use of the app. However, something tells me that won't be happening regardless of the risks and all of the other security plunders that can be left to the imagination.

What do you think?

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