TikTok discovered that letting videos download is the best weapon of virality. Now it is also one of their biggest problems. It is already banned in some countries. Check out the other list of apps that are already banned from the Google playstore.
A young man recorded while putting a pizza in the washing machine; another puts a garbage can on his head and runs through a supermarket; another throws his cell phone to the toilet when trying to do a viral challenge.
What these videos have in common is that they have been published on TikTok and that their authors are minors. The Chinese fashion social network, which already accumulates more than 500 million downloads, has become a youth territory.
Since users are not always aware of the importance of protecting their personal information and easily show in their videos.
Anyone can watch it or even download and spread it through other applications.
But what role does privacy play in TikTok?
To know the problem you have to know what kind of application we talk about. And it is that TikTok designed as a social network. Where users can share short videos, often only a few seconds, share their profiles.
Indicate what content they like and send comments to other people.
The users, mostly young people, use the tools offered by the application to publish their videos. Accompanied by music, making jokes, performing choreographies, imitating a famous person, playing sports or reviewing something.
As the other networks work, you can use hashtags – keywords – to make it viral, reaching millions of views.
Taking into account that the main users of the social network are teenagers. We reach the true weak point of TikTok: its privacy.
And to what extent do we own it?
When a user creates their profile, they can choose to be completely public or completely private, without a medium degree.
Although, when uploading a video, we can choose if everyone can see it, if only our friends can see it or if we want it to be private.
One of the features of the application is that it allows you to download videos uploaded by other users.
This can have dire consequences for users who decide to unsubscribe from the social network or delete certain content and see how those videos are broadcast again in the network through third parties.
The truth is that today, downloading the content of social networks is not impossible. In social networks such as Instagram, it is possible to download the photos and even the videos through external applications or websites.
In TikTok, the same social network has a button to download. And this complicates everything.
Did you read the Tiktok policy before using the app?
So far so good. But the real problem has different edges.
A clear example is that of a minor who uploads a video making some kind of joke or nonsense, regrets, deletes it. But sees that it continues to spread every day through other users.
In this sense, Jorge Campanillas, a lawyer specializing in Information Technology and Communications Law, believes in the need that “we must be aware of what type of material to upload and not publish videos that may harm a posteriori.”
A problem that is accentuate if the user in question does not have the necessary knowledge about the management of their data and privacy.
“Most are videos of teenagers who do not understand the impact that they can have on the social network.
So it is important to raise awareness among parents, guardians or legal representatives of young people, about the importance of the data of their children and what applications they use, ”he says.
The viralization of content and its consequences
But what happens when you want to delete content that you have already uploaded to the network?
In these cases, the user should write to the person who has disseminated the content without permission to remove it.
If this does not happen, he can go to the corresponding Data Protection Agency to intervene, being able to derive the case in court.
“By the time it is resolved, the damage has already occurred,” says Campanillas.
In addition, TikTok is part of the ByteDance technology company, located in China, which greatly complicates and lengthens the processes to identify and remove content requested by users.
And it is that many of the publications that exist in the social network can favour sexist attitudes or incite dangerous activities for health.
For example, videos in which young people
- appear jumping between buildings
- viral challenges where teenagers ingest toxic products or musical choreographies with a degree of sexual connotation.
“You have to get the idea that the moment you upload
- videos to the network, you lose control of them,” says Borja Adsuara, an expert lawyer in digital law.
Famous People on TikTok
An example is the famous video of @priyankapuneetbah in which a person squeezes the head of a baby as if it were a sponge. Even now, the user who initially uploaded the content cannot be found. But the video continues to be reappeared every day by different users.
Another example is found in the video of @slavskii_25, in which a young man jumps dangerously from one building to another at a great height. This is a video restore to satiety in the social network by hundreds of users who are not the original authors. The video of @magges67, in which a son scares his mother repeatedly, is also another example that we easily find if we open the application and browse through it for a few minutes.
Because of the number of users who re-upload these contents to the application daily, without the consent of their authors. In the case of TikTok, it is quite common for videos to be saved and then redeployed.
Each time this happens, the user can ask an administrator to remove the video through internal procedures.
From TikTok they point out that in these cases the user can use a tool to report the video either by copyright. Hence, it is inappropriate content or by other situations.
But they do not clarify how much time can pass until that video is deleted or what to do if it returns to get on. Adsuara warns that “since users can download videos or capture them, it is very difficult to avoid viralization.”
All this leads us to think that the underlying problem. In the end, is the responsibility of the users when managing their data.
Does it violate GDPR?
Something that is sometimes inefficient when it comes to minors. According to the General Data Protection Regulation, only those over 14 years of age can give their data and register in the application themselves. Minors of this age must have parental or responsible guardian authorization.
Therefore, Adsuara affirms that “it is necessary that the applications have mechanisms for identification and verification.
Both of the age and the veracity of the parental authorization, to avoid forgery”.
But he points out that “in the end, it is in the education itself that we must bear in mind that many things that are silly at any given time can come back in a few years to embarrass us.”
“ The company is not sensitizing regarding the privacy of its data.
In order to use all these applications, they must know that they are paying for it with their data.
People believe that their data is not worth much. Because they are not famous or hold public office and their importance is not valued.
When serious cases such as revenge or bullying happen, it is when they are sensitized, ”concludes Adsuara.