Luiza Jarovsky Profile picture
Jul 31 25 tweets 19 min read
These are the 23 reasons why #TikTok is problematic in terms of #manipulation, #addiction and #privacy & why #children and #teenagers should be kept away from it:

(for those interested: the full article about the topic, with all relevant links:…)
1- Reduced space for #autonomy and #choice; videos are pushed to the user since 1st use. In a web that respects human dignity, people - especially #children and #teenagers - should get used to choose and think about what they want to be exposed to
2- Increased potential of #manipulation and #exposure of younger and more impressionable audiences, as the content will be pushed to them and they will be hooked by age-inappropriate content (and be recommended more content like this)
3- TikTok's recommendation #algorithm has detailed metrics about users' interest in each video (nothing else to look on the screen) and can push videos that intensify a certain emotion and keep the user hooked. Brain chemistry at play
4- Videos are shown in autoplay and in an endless scroll. These are features known for triggering #addictivebehaviour. Users cannot jump a few videos at once, they will be shown every video TikTok wants them to see. #TikTok is 100% in control of the user experience
5- The “For You" page is statistically tailored to be the most captivating possible. Their data is optimized and personalized to steal as much attention as it can #FYP
6- #TikTok doe not allow long descriptions or link with further info (which might take the user out of the app). Their #uxdesign is made to lock the user in
7- #TikTok videos are short (15 seconds-1 minute), fast paced, outstanding (must hook the viewer in 3 sec), use pop soundtracks, filters, effects and replicate content that is already trending in the app. This format is suitable for #TikTok's growth and profit, not for #education
8- To thrive on #TikTok, users must be fixated on it. They must use it frequently to know what is trending on the app, otherwise you will lose the timing – and timing is everything. This stimulates #addiction and #compulsive use
9- The path to #TikTok success is joining trends and mimicking successful videos formulas, in a bandwagon-compulsion style. If you are a #child or #teenager, you are pushed to constantly mimic others and look for social validation (through likes & subscribers)
10- #Teenagers have stated that their social lives currently revolve around #TikTok: new trends, dances, viral videos, emerging stars, who is popular over there and who is not, what is cool and what is not. The power of TikTok's algorithm over today's youth is inconceivable
11- Videos on #TikTok have 3 seconds to enchant the viewer. They must be shocking, irreverent, socially awkward, scary, performing admirable abilities, showing exposed bodies and so on. There is no room for content that promotes critical thinking, everything must be "impressive"
12- There is no time or space for #autonomy to process if what was seen makes sense or not. Users have the content pushed down their throat. Users are passive and paralyzed, waiting to be amazed. #Children and #teenagers are not being educated to be critical about what they see
13- Recently, #TikTok was accused of aggressive data harvesting, where they requested many more permissions than necessary to make the app work…
14- #TikTok uses @darkpatterns to make users share more data. Take a look at this screenshot: the pop up asks "are you above 18 and do you allow TikTok to show personalized ads?" Is the question regarding the age or advertising? A typical case of #darkpattern in data protection
15- There are #privacy concerns regarding #surveillance, #spying and #censorship from China, given that TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is China-based. In June 2020, #India banned TikTok for surveillance and cybersecurity concerns…
16- More recently, a member of the @FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States (@BrendanCarrFCC) called for a ban on #TikTok from #Google and #Apple app stores due to fears of #cybersecurity issues related to data transfers to China…
17- According to a letter sent to the @nytimes by #TikTok's CEO, some employees in China, in charge of clearing internal security protocols, can indeed access certain information from United States-based TikTok, such as public videos and comments…
18- It has also been pointed the remarkable difference in terms of #TikTok's content in China & in the rest of the world. Allegedly, the app promotes "engineering and maths in China, while making youth in other countries addicted to twerking and porn"…
19- For people <14 years old, China limits the usage of #TikTok to 40 minutes a day, and bans the app for these audiences between 10pm and 6am, with the goal of inhibiting internet addiction. No similar measures against teen addiction were implemented in other countries
20- Due to the lack of transparency and different settings for China and other countries, Sen. @tedcruz has called #TikTok “a Trojan horse the Chinese Communist Party can use to influence what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think”
21- Parents, obsessed with #TikTok and wanting their next #dopamine hit from likes and subscribers in the app, are doing bad #sharenting by exposing too much of their children and creating dangerous exposure situations…
22- #TikTok is the epitome of the unregulated #attentioneconomy, as @superwuster & @HumaneTech_ have been amplifying. It optimizes #algorithm and #uxdesign to capture not only users' attention, but also their time, personal data, brains and feelings
23- The lack of scrutiny is so big that they can do it freely, profiting from the most impressionable and sensitive audience: #children and #teenagers. I am waiting for the next @FrancesHaugen or @chrisinsilico from inside #TikTok to tell it all.
The end.

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More from @LuizaJarovsky

Aug 1
New to #privacy & #dataprotection? Here are 18 books (in English) you should read to give you a thriving start:
1- Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies by @hartzog. [To understand how #technology - software, hardware, algorithm & design - is not neutral: it can easily manipulate us and negatively affect our #privacy]…
2- Re-Engineering Humanity by @BrettFrischmann & @EvanSelinger. [To understand what happens when we get too fascinated by #bigdata, predictive analytics and #ArtificialInteligence and forget the importance of human autonomy and freedom]…
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