Does TikTok Track You? Is the Platform Keeping Your Data

Profile photo ofCarolyn Howell, author

Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2023

TikTok 101

Want More Real Tiktok Followers?

Since the inception of social media, varying degrees of skepticism have existed about its safety and security. Questions about how these social media platforms extracted and used user data have emerged. For instance, much talk has been about TikTok’s dealings with its users’ data and personal information. So, does TikTok track you or your activities?

TikTok tracks several activities you perform while using the platform to quell your curiosity. It monitors your taps of the screen as you browse your feeds, noting your passwords and the links you follow. Besides that, the social media app tracks user data, including a user’s IP address, location, search history, and others. Well, this article discusses this issue in depth.

A picture of a person browsing TikTok on an iPhone while sitting.

How Does TikTok Track You? All the Ways It Gathers Your Data

You may have come across some info positing that TikTok tracks its users. While these assertions are not entirely unfounded, you may be curious. So, how does Twitter TikTok track you? Like most other social media sites and platforms, TikTok keeps track of the information and data from its users.

First, the social media service collects information when you open its website, even without signing up. Here, the website obtains your data through cookies and other tracking metrics. When you create an account with the platform, it gathers data about your activity. It also keeps track of your preferences from the clips you view and the material you interact with.

Recently, there have been several assertions of TikTok accessing people’s data even if they’ve never used the app or website. Coupled with consumer reports about the content and moderation issues the platform has faced, this has raised several eyebrows. The platform’s allegedly strongly influencing algorithm also fostered these data harvesting allegations. While there has been no serious look at the issue, the assertions have persisted.

Generally, TikTok has clear safety policies and privacy policies for users. During sign-up, the social media platform requires users to provide their phone numbers, email addresses, and birth dates. While creating content, TikTok saves your videos, even if you end up not sharing them. The app also collects videos, images, and text from your clipboard if you copy to the app or paste from the app.

Experts have stated that the platform has not clarified its dealings with user data. For instance, its policy on privacy offers many details on data collection. However, it does not spell the fate of the data. Besides this, the platform also requests several permissions, which users most likely accept.

A closeup picture of a phone screen with the TikTok app and several other applications.

What Does TikTok Track? What Type of Info Is the Platform Tracking?

While many users understand that TikTok keeps track of their information, the specifics are unclear. Of course, the platform requires some information during sign-up. It also asks for permissions like microphone and camera access. However, what does TikTok track during regular usage and scrolling?

While you use TikTok, the social media platform notes the exact device you’ve accessed it from. The platform also tracks your IP address, our message content, and your search history. In addition, it tracks what content you view and how long you view it. Besides these, the platform tracks device identifiers, which it uses to monitor your interactions with ads.

From these different pieces of data, the social media platform collates your age, gender, and interests. Reports show that the platform tracks biometric data, including voiceprints and faces. Experts have mentioned that the platform uses this information to optimize advertising.

As the social media platform tracks all this information, it recommends ads and videos according to users’ preferences. TikTok also recommends accounts based on these metrics. For instance, the platform prioritizes a class of content when a user watches the end and likes the video. As a result, the social media app serves ads based on that content. Utilizing this type is quite tricky for platforms other than TikTok.

A closeup picture of a computer device’s white keyboard.

Is TikTok Tracking Keystrokes of Users? Discovering the Truth Behind This

Since the platform tracks much user information and activity, there are questions about TikTok tracking keystrokes. But does this happen? Experts have shown that the in-app browser in the TikTok application tracks keystrokes from users. People use the app’s in-app browser when they follow a link from content in the application.

Several concerns have sprung up regarding this issue since the platform seemed to track users as it wanted. Of course, because the platform could collect user data from external websites, the safety of sensitive information was at stake. This information could include credit card information and several important passwords.

Several national security experts show some skepticism about the issue due to precedents. There has been an understanding that features like this were usually associated with malware or tools for hacking. Nevertheless, many companies in the tech industry employ these features to test new features and software. Well, viewing such a feature on commercial applications has not been common.

Generally, experts have considered just how much data the website tracked keystrokes as problematic. Users may compromise their information by sharing sensitive information using the platform’s in-app browser. While the social media company has reportedly insisted that it does not use these features, people are not entirely convinced.

The platform mentioned that the supposed code only helped troubleshoot, debug, and monitor performance. It also mentioned that the code of interest was only part of the software for which the platform has no use. The tests that drew these conclusions used TikTok’s iOS version and did not check its Android counterpart. 

A photograph of a phone screen displaying the TikTok logo.

How To Stop TikTok From Tracking You: 4 Ways You Should Consider

Although the social media app denies tracking users’ keystrokes, it still keeps track of certain user information. At least, the platform tracks user data to a certain extent. So, you may have asked questions about how to stop TikTok from tracking you. Well, there are several helpful ways to prevent the app from tracking you.

Here are five helpful ways:

1. Use TikTok as a Viewer

While you must create an account to enjoy the features of this application, you can also use it without one. This social media service allows people to browse it as a viewer, accessing as much content as they wish. Generally, it is not possible to keep your data completely inaccessible this way.

Nonetheless, it reduces the chances of safeguarding your information. Also, the platform may not track your other social media profiles, decreasing your information’s visibility. You can access these settings from your browser’s privacy settings.

2. Disable Cookies in the Browser and the App

The social media platform’s privacy policy indicates that it tracked data from browser cookies, even for users without accounts. On the flip side, browsers sometimes include mobile app cookies that assist with specific app features. So, preventing your browsers from saving website and app cookies is another excellent way to safeguard yourself.

If you want to do this, clear the TikTok app cache and your web browser cache to remove as much data as possible. Besides this, avoid sharing your details with third-party services, such as apps that sell TikTok views. These apps can also harvest and compromise your information.

3. Employ VPNs and Proxy Servers

Virtual private networks and proxy servers are other options for people intent on protecting their information from TikTok. This option is a valid alternative since the app tracks your location alongside your IP address. The option comes in handy even for those who have not created accounts on the platform.

This is because the app determines users’ location, helping to recommend content for users. VPN services change users’ locations, while proxy services mask IP addresses. So, you can either use one option or a combination of both.

4. Utilize Private Browsers and Privacy Browser Plug-Ins

Private browsers are also useful for masking your data from TikTok. Browsers like Tor and DuckDuckGo protect the identities of people who access the platform’s web version. Besides that, users can also install plug-ins for security. For instance, users can install Chrome security extensions on their browsers. These will block traffic or blur email addresses during registration.

A picture of two screens displaying the TikTok and other apps.

If I Delete TikTok, Can It Still Track Me? What Exactly Happens to Your Data?

Many users are exiting TikTok due to its budding popularity for tracking user information. But besides this, users are also concerned with dealing with the issue, especially as they may consider their information compromised. So, if I delete TikTok, can it still track me? Also, what is the way forward if you do not intend to share your information with the platform this way?

The platform cannot track your data if you delete your TikTok account and remove the app. This does not necessarily mean that your user data vanishes immediately. The social media company can still access the data it tracked during your app usage.

The social platform relayed that it deletes user data after a specific period. However, there are no indications of the period it takes. The company’s policy also posits that users can reach, update, or delete their data. But answering the question “Does TikTok track you,” it does track different aspects of user interactions.

Targeting the right audience on TikTok is easier with the help of experts who consider demographics and implement other metrics. High Social offers the expertise and advanced capabilities that provide a helpful advantage for getting swift organic growth on the social media app. With High Social, you’re sure to reach your target audience and build useful connections. So, start growing your TikTok today!

TikTok 101