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Don’t use TikTok? The China-owned social network may still have your data.

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A new report from the cybersecurity company Feroot Security reveals that TikTok can track you even if you’ve never used the app before. This deeply concerns me and comes as the Biden administration still debates whether the popular social media app should be banned here in the United States. Here’s what we know so far.

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How can TikTok track me if I’ve never used the app?

According to Feroot, TikTok has trackers on it that are called pixels. These pixels can pop up on any website that has a TikTok video embedded in it. These trackers can pick off tons of information, including your usernames, passwords, credit card, banking information, and details about your personal health. Even if a site requires extra logins and authentications, the TikTok pixels are just collecting all that information and transferring it around the globe.

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Person using TikTok unaware of how it tracks them.

Person using TikTok unaware of how it tracks them. (CyberGuy.com)

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and the company is required to turn over any data and information they collect to the Chinese government at a moment’s notice. Therefore, your data can be shared with the Chinese government and used to spy on you or spread misinformation about the American people.

MORE: ASK KURT: ARE TIKTOK VIDEOS SAFE TO VIEW OUTSIDE OF THE APP?

What is the Biden administration doing about this?

The Biden administration has been trying to come to an agreement with TikTok about data security for the last two years. They have warned ByteDance that they may have to sell the app or face a total ban on the app throughout the United States.  The app has already been banned in the United Kingdom among government-issued devices, and unless an agreement can be made fast, it wouldn’t be surprising if we start seeing the same kind of bans happening here.

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The Biden administration has attempted to make an agreement with ByteDance to sell or face a total ban.

The Biden administration has attempted to make an agreement with ByteDance to sell or face a total ban. (CyberGuy.com)

How can I limit the information that TikTok can access from me?

If you still want to use TikTok, you just have to be careful about what information you’re putting out there. Here are some ways that you can limit as much information you can that TikTok can access from you.

Turn off sharing with your contacts and Facebook friends 

  • Open your TikTok app
  • Click the Profile icon in the bottom right corner
  • Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner and tap Settings and privacy
  • Click Privacy
  • Click Sync contacts and Facebook friends and toggle off both options

Disable personalized ad sharing. Here’s how: 

  • Open your TikTok app
  • Click the Profile icon in the bottom right corner
  • Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner and tap Settings and privacy
  • Scroll down and click Ads
  • Toggle off Using Off-TikTok activity for ad targeting 

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Make your account private.Here’s how: 

  • Open your TikTok app
  • Click the Profile icon in the bottom right corner
  • Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner and tap Settings and privacy
  • Click Privacy
  • Toggle on Private account

Download your data to find out what TikTok has collected on you. Here’s how: 

  • Open your TikTok app
  • Click the Profile icon in the bottom right corner
  • Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner and tap Settings and privacy
  • Click Account
  • Select Download your data
  • Click Request data. It may take a few days to process before you get your data report

Will you continue to use TikTok after learning this information? Let us know your thoughts.

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