Is TikTok Safe? What Are the Safety Concerns?

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Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: May 10, 2024

TikTok 101

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There has been much talk about TikTok’s overall safety features, practices, and policies. So, people are increasingly skeptical about the platform in general. But what is the truth about this? Is TikTok safe to use, and is its content okay for people of different ages?

Considering the overall levels of safety on other social media platforms, many people regard TikTok as relatively safe. 

However, there have been some valid concerns regarding user privacy and the kind of content people share on the platform. So, this blog post discusses this topic in great depth. 

 A person holds a phone showing the TikTok logo.

Is TikTok Unsafe?

Generally, TikTok is not more unsafe than other platforms. However, this does not mean that the platform is not harmful to some users. The answer to this question is more complex than a simple yes or no. 

While the app does not have dangerous malware, there are multiple valid privacy and safety concerns. 

For instance, experts have noticed that this social media app collects significant user data. This usually includes data that it does not even need to run. Therefore, there is much speculation regarding how the app uses such data. 

Well, there are other concerns regarding TikTok. These include the type of content it exposes users to and its failure to enforce age restrictions

While the platform has received heavy criticism for its data-related activities, other sites may be actively doing the same.

A laptop on a table displays a padlock icon and the word “Secured.”

The Top 6 Safety Issues With Using TikTok

Reports indicate that TikTok users face significant safety issues on the platform. However, experts insist these issues are similar to those on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Still, these issues are notable, making people wonder, “How safe is TikTok?”

So, here are the six primary safety issues on TikTok:

1. Privacy and Data Issues

Privacy is one of the most critical aspects of digital safety, especially regarding social media sites. 

Unfortunately, this is a significant issue for TikTok because it collects much user data. While most other social networks do the same, this site’s activities are more popular.

From the TikTok privacy policy, it’s shown that it collects data including:

  • Your personal information
  • The videos you watch
  • Your exact location
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • Your comments on posts
  • Your direct messages 
  • Your search and browsing history
  • The content you copy to your clipboard
  • Your uploaded videos and photos 
  • Information from your third-party account

2. Scams on the Social Network

Although TikTok does not support scams, they are significant on the social platform. Of course, this is a major problem on most social media platforms. However, this issue is receiving much attention in TikTok. 

Romance scams are some of the app’s most popular scams. Scam apps are another form of fraudulent activity on the site. Then, there are phishing scams, cryptocurrency investment scams, and social engagement schemes. 

The app has put measures in place to prevent these fraudulent activities. However, they are still very prevalent on this social media site. 

3. Misinformation

There has been talk about the Chinese government using TikTok to spread misinformation. While no tangible proof has emerged, multiple governments have banned the platform to different degrees. Still, the misinformation rumors have remained.

Besides Chinese involvement, TikTok’s short-form video format has made it easy for people to spread untrue information. Creators can make massive claims without proof, and such posts can go viral

Since the TikTok algorithm favors posts that have attracted attention, these posts can even go more viral. Therefore, conspiracy theories and political propaganda can quickly spread on the app. 

4. Direct Spying Activities

A recent Forbes report showed that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, had been using the app to track some journalists. This company had been tracking their locations using their IP addresses. 

Eventually, ByteDance claimed that some employees were acting without authorization. The company also mentioned that it had fired those employees after the episode. While the specifics remain unclear, it becomes even more obvious that the app could be a tool for illegal activities.

5. Impact on Mental Health

Many parents fear that social media apps like TikTok impact the mental health of children. Since users endlessly hop from one video to another, people generally believe that it affects their attention span.

Some believe continued usage affects the learning capacities of these kids, as well as other issues. While there are no long-term studies to confirm these claims, these concerns still exist. Social media addiction is another primary concern for parents; all these affect the mental health of users. 

Also, the app collects information regarding the content you like, feeding you similar content to keep your attention. Continuously watching such content can be distracting and damaging. Cyberbullying and harmful content could also harm users in the long run.

6. Sharing of Personal Data

Since TikTok collects tons of information about its users, there are multiple speculations about its fate. The platform initially insisted that it use this data to improve its services. However, it has also admitted to sharing data with its parent company and other third parties.

For instance, the third-party service providers the app uses to manage its services access this data. Content moderation services and cloud service providers fall into this category. The app’s business partners, like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, can access information like access tokens and app IDs.

Payment providers also access some user records to facilitate transactions. Analytics providers and advertisers also access user data for their activities. TikTok may also have to share data regarding relevant investigations with law enforcement agencies. 

Is TikTok Safe for Kids?

TikTok isn’t entirely safe for kids. Just like other platforms, dangers such as cyberbullying and child identity theft exist. This is one of the most popular social media apps among kids. Therefore, other users, content, and activities may pose risks to them. 

While the platform reportedly tries to prevent these dangers, it can do only so much. However, as a global social network, TikTok finds it hard to deal with all these problems. It also finds it difficult to prevent users from sharing content and performing activities that are harmful to kids. 

Regarding kids’ privacy, the social media platform limits the data it collects. TikTok considers users under 13 in this category. 

So, it only collects some personal information, like their usernames, passwords, and birthdays. It also collects their IP addresses, network IDs, and device identification information. 

The kind of content that kids consume on TikTok is also a matter of concern. The social platform exposes them to materials and ideas that may not be completely healthy. It is an option since effective content moderation is challenging on such a large platform. 

Overall, parents must decide if they have no problems with their kids accessing the platform despite the risks. Kids also expose much of their personal lives through their posts. 

Whether TikTok is safe for kids or not, it is better to remain conservative regarding its usage. Parental controls and the app’s privacy settings are helpful in this case. 

Is TikTok Shop Safe?

TikTok shop is safe to a high degree for sellers and buyers who follow the rules and carry out legitimate activities. However, like any other marketplace online, there are still some risks to using this feature. For this reason, you must be mindful of potential scams and fraudulent accounts as a buyer.

In most cases, look for fake reviews and carefully scan the items before purchasing. While some products are not legit, TikTok tries to deal with these as they arise. Since experts have counted only a tiny percentage of shady products, the shop is still safe to a reasonable degree.

The app requires users to undergo stringent vetting procedures before setting up a TikTok shop. Individual sellers must submit identification verification documents, while corporate sellers must obtain business licenses.

Overall, the TikTok shop provides guarantees that you may not enjoy from free-roaming retailers. For instance, you get guarantees on product quality, payment safety, safe shipping, and product returns. 

The social media platform offers reasonable support for sellers. They can access promotional and campaign tools and support for complaints, logistics, and disputes. Overall, the app is still improving its shop feature. 

How To Maintain Safety on TikTok

Since TikTok faces several safety concerns, users must pay attention to their safety. While these safety issues are prevalent on other social media apps, they are effective on TikTok. So, here is how to protect yourself on the platform:

  1. Do not share too much on the app. While there is always that temptation to share regular posts, people do not need to know everything about you.
  2. Avoid sharing personal information like your email address, birthday, or home address. 
  3. Set restrictions on your account to limit those who can access or interact with your content.
  4. Consider placing your account in private mode. This setting allows only people who follow you to access your profile. 
  5. Avoid reusing passwords to maintain security. 
  6. Keep to good digital security practices like blocking your IP addresses and viewing TikTok anonymously

Grow Your TikTok Profile Safely With High Social

Are you looking to grow your TikTok account and attract more followers? High Social offers an effective way to achieve growth without breaking the bank or compromising safety. 

This social media growth service helps you attract natural and organic followers using targeted growth.

You must visit the site, create an account, and describe your target audience. Then, you can wait for High Social to reach your target audience. They do this by promoting your content and getting them to follow you.

Is TikTok safe with growth from High Social? You can safely attract TikTok followers who will engage with your content and boost your activity on the app. What are you waiting for? Start your TikTok growth now!

TikTok 101