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TikTok grows enemies

by Tejas Dhawan

If we rely on popularity to measure success, there is no doubt that TikTok is one of the most successful online services of the moment. And it has managed to penetrate a very young audience, displacing other services such as Instagram from the center of attention. A success that should undoubtedly make Twitter managers have been pulling their hair for a long time for not having given Vine a little more travel, since with a little work and dedication, it is the service that could be occupying that position today.

However, not everything is good news for those responsible, and it is that between yesterday and today there have been very striking movements of two large companies, which to different degrees they seem to see a security threat on TikTok. It is true that one of them seems to have changed his mind. And it is that, with only 24 hours apart, Amazon and Wells Fargo have prohibited their employees from installing and using the TikTok app on smartphones from those who access their work email accounts.

Yesterday, Friday, as reported by The New York Times, Amazon employees received a message from the company stating that the use of TikTok was prohibited and, in addition, that they could not access their corporate email accounts if they did not they uninstalled the app. The only reason given for this was “security issues”, and the connection between that message and the deactivation of the email service, point to the suspicion that the app may spy on user communications.

A few hours later, Amazon made a second communication invalidating the first, claiming that it had been a mistake without giving further explanations. In this way, the prohibition was reversed, and it was stated that the company’s employees could continue using TikTok on their devices, without this implying that they could not access their professional email accounts from them. We will never know if it really was a mistake or, on the contrary, it was an intentional sending and the second message was the signal of a rectification.

And with the hangover from yesterday, today we know from The Verge that Wells Fargo has adopted a similar measure. In this case, the company’s reason for taking this action has been “concern about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices.” In this case and unlike Amazon, at least for the moment there has been no rectification, so it is possible that in this case the blockade is definitive.

Much of the suspicion that falls on TikTok have to do with its geographical origin, and that is that we must not forget that the service belongs to ByteDance, a Chinese company. And it is true that the company has made many efforts to show itself unrelated to its country of origin, to the point that TikTok is currently headquartered in the United States And, according to those responsible, all decisions regarding the security and privacy of the data are made in the United States, not in China.

Another problem is that, with the beta of iOS 14 it has been verified that the app of this service is among those that permanently and unjustifiably access the clipboard of the operating system. A behavior that, precisely at a time when its safety is being questioned, and with growth that does not seem to stop, makes TikTok analyzed with more magnifying glasses than ever.

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