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Concern over TikTok is “international politics thinly veiled as a data ethics issue”

Samantha Floreani, arguing that consternation over TikTok ignores the reality that other, US-based social media platforms doing the same things TikTok is being criticised for:

This is not to defend TikTok – their data collection, use and disclosure practices are undoubtedly invasive, and present acute privacy and security risks. We should absolutely be thinking critically about how any app handles information, especially those targeted specifically at users under 18. Of course, the context of an app such as this and its links to China should also be considered – we all know China has a deeply concerning record when it comes to respecting people’s privacy or human rights more broadly.

But the data habits of big tech companies should not be framed as an “over there” problem.


Some of those who recently expressed concern about data harvesting are likely to be bellwether friends. What we’re seeing is international politics thinly veiled as a data ethics issue, without any gumption to actually address the underlying problems that are much, much bigger than TikTok.

If you’re going to use something as a proxy to get after China, pick a better target than TikTok.

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