TikTok: Buyer Beware

TikTok burst onto the social media scene and quickly gained traction among the younger crowd.


Just this year it was downloaded 315 million times in the first three months of 2020. That is more downloads for any app in history over a three month period.


It’s appeal: short entertaining videos.

There has been no shortage of content, and its popularity has only grown, which makes it an appealing place to target a younger audience if you are a company or a marketing firm.


But there is more than meets the eye with TikTok, and its life in the USA might soon be over.


But what has led to its being banned across multiple nations and what risks might come along with using TikTok?

WHAT DOES THE APP KNOW ABOUT YOU?


When you sign up for a new social media account, you are often required to give them your name, and email address at a minimum.


Then you are often required to come up with a username and password. All good, right?

Well, how often do you use that same password? For everything. It's just easier to remember though right?


Now that password and email are in the hands of that company, and I’m guessing you just clicked that “I Agree” box when it comes to the security & privacy notices.


Not only that, but some apps are also able to access your clipboard.


Your clipboard holds the information that you are copy/pasting on your phone. Not just TikTok is accessing this, Linkedin and Reddit were found to be doing the same thing when an iPhone update alerted users to the apps that have access to your clipboard.


Just think about that.


The passwords, emails, financial information, and personal items that you've copied and pasted in the last day, the last month. You probably wouldn’t want that getting into anyone else's hands.

SHOULD YOUR COMPANY INVEST IN TIKTOK?


As a marketing platform, TikTok seems like the place you want to be.


Right?


Younger demographic, lots of eyeballs on it, and a quickly growing audience. Sounds exactly where you should be focusing your marketing efforts!


Not so fast though.

Do you know where that information on you has gone? Do you know what hands that info is in?


TikTok is based out of China, and there are growing concerns about where that information is going.


While there has yet to be any evidence that your data is being used for nefarious reasons, India has already made the move to ban TikTok and other Chinese apps, while Australia and the United States are discussing a potential ban.


So as a company, would you be comfortable with an app, or another company potentially being able to access your sensitive data?


It’s tempting because TikTok is showing a good ROI, and let's face it- it's pretty entertaining. But is that worth the risk?


And with a potential ban on the horizon for the USA, that could be a big waste to invest time and money into something that could be ripped right out from under you at a moment's notice.

This is a good lesson on being diverse when it comes to social media marketing. Yes, TikTok is a great place to advertise and gain an audience, but just like in the past, many social media outlets have come and gone. So don’t put your eggs all in one basket.


At the end of the day, it’s up to you or your company whether or not you want to utilize TikTok and its massive audience for your advertising.


Whether you believe the information could be used against you is for you to decide, but buyer beware when using TikTok.


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