Smoke and mirrors

Concerns about TikTok’s links to the Chinese government and data privacy or security issues aren’t the real story.

28 October 2022

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is spying on your teenager. At least that's the conclusion you'd have to draw after (yet another) kerfuffle over TikTok tracking its users. ‘TikTok in-app browser can track keystrokes and tap into websites!’ shrieked headlines in such august publications as Forbes and The New York Times.

As is so often the case, the tech press in the US is focussing on the wrong story. The (laudable) research report that triggered the headlines found that Meta's apps, such as Facebook and Instagram, perform very similar tracking. They don't collect keystrokes, but they collect just about everything else.

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