TikTok's problems are all about China - and they'll be hard to fix - 2020-07-13
Over a matter of days, TikTok has become the scariest social network in the world. On July 7th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the White House was considering banning the app, a move so unprecedented that it's hard to know what government action was even being threatened. India has already taken a similar measure, and on Friday, an email went out telling Amazon employees that they should uninstall the app from their company phones — although higher-ups later said it had been sent in error. Over the weekend, Wells Fargo issued a similar order and stuck with it, and both major political parties have told their operatives to steer clear of the app.
It's the kind of avalanche of concerns you would expect from a privacy failure on the scale of Cambridge Analytica or the Yahoo breach — but it's remarkably hard to pin down what TikTok has actually done to lose America's trust. The most recent scandal came when TikTok was caught eavesdropping on users' clipboard data, which was suddenly visible due to a new privacy feature in iOS 14. But more than 50 other apps were caught doing the same thing, including LinkedIn, PUBG Mobile, and the official reader app for The New York Times, a transgression that's largely been ignored.
Many users will simply never accept a China-backed social network