I don’t see the TikTok habit I’ve developed going away anytime soon, but I won’t be using the new “Log in with TikTok” feature.
The new feature, announced last week, will let TikTok users log into other apps using their TikTok username and password. Other social networks offer similar features, which can be simpler than creating a new account from scratch. But it also creates a way for the social network to keep tabs on what its users are doing far outside its walls.
Those who log in with TikTok will have to trust that TikTok, and its Chinese owner ByteDance, will keep that data and other data it holds about them private and secure. That’s a pretty big ask for a company that was trusted so little last year that the U.S. government demanded it sell itself off to a U.S. company or vanish from the U.S. market. (The Trump-era deal to turn TikTok’s U.S. operations over to Oracle later fell apart.)
Even if TikTok has no privacy-harming intentions for the new feature, it’s worth a measure of concern if only because of past abuses of similar features by other tech companies.