TikTok is not about clocks…what?

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

Ok, so it is an app? Right, and it has all the features of every social app, except it is about random crap, and it is controlled by a Chinese company…If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.

As a frequent traveller and constant eater who loves to spatter kind words in everything I do, including dabbling in social media, I feel the speed of social apps is leaving me in its dusty aftermath. Whew.

TikTok is owned by a Chinese company ByteDance. TikTok ensures control of its citizens by maintaining a separate app for the Chinese market, known as Duyin.

Right now, TikTok is in the “Gathering Information Stage” of its app. We are warned often, through media and politicians, to beware Chinese spies and data delving. Yet, an app like this is allowed to be downloaded 2 billion times as kids, encouraged by paid celebrities, jump on-app to hand over their every private moment. Parents are unwittingly unaware their privacy is being delved into as well.

The TikTok app offers users a wide selection of sounds and song snippets, along with the option to add special effects and filters. There is also an option to directly add videos created on your phone. The new app is being promoted as a video-sharing social network. TikTok users can create a variety of videos ranging from challenges, dance videos, magic tricks, and funny videos.

Ok, so it is an app? Right, and it has all the features of every social app, except it is about random crap.

TikTok went from zero (2014) to billions of mentions (2022) in the influencers (don’t even get me started on this one) marketing hub.

Another key driving factor in TikTok app’s popularity is the fact that despite being a global app, it has a strong focus on localised content. The app often runs local contests and challenges and captures on local trends through the use of localised hashtags.

TikTok runs a “1 million audition” contest across several countries and millions of communities, separately. For each contest, participants are given themes to create videos and then the top video creators are awarded. This contest leads to the creation of millions of local videos in each country where it is held. TikTok creators gain recognition and followers, while ultimately making China’s spies’ work less taxing. This is some great intel-gathering skills – plus the expenses of funding spies across the globe are vastly reduced, therefore freeing up more spies and money to places cells in the medical, scientific and political industries.

The app uses local hashtags, encourages users with topic suggestions, and even send personalised suggestions to users. Damn, that is better than any interrogating tactic ever invented. What better way to gain pertinent information that brainwashing the participants to lay down and give it all up? There is nothing as brilliant as this new trend of information gathering.

“Using these techniques, TikTok has been able to pull off localisation on a global scale.”

“If you are not paying for the product you are the product. As a consumer, you have to be responsible for what you are putting on your device”, Ritesh Kotak, an independent tech and cybersecurity expert, he also said, “using TikTok, like with any other app, comes with automatic privacy concerns.

This is my take on the ticking clock that is TikTok. As this recent article in the NYT suggested…Let’s call this the data espionage problem. It seems the concern is rising…finally.

If you are vaguely interested in more about this new world from this baffled Gen eXer, read my next post… There are also a couple of new business trends that is very disconcerting to me. I find I am encountering people who will ask and ask and when I stop giving they move on without even saying bye. The other trend is every Tom, Dick, and Harry is an expert whom have graduated from the universities of YouTube 1-minute Videos and Google Scrolling.  

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