March 3, 2020
Reddit CEO claims TikTok app is 'fundamentally parasitic' and spyware
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman presumably won't be singing on TikTok anytime soon.
Huffman referred to the wildly popular short-form mobile video app as "fundamentally parasitic," in remarks he made Wednesday at a Silicon Valley conference. TikTok was formerly known as Musical.ly and compared to karaoke for the digital age.
"Maybe I'm going to regret this, but I can't even get to that level of thinking with them," Huffman charged, as reported by TechCrunch. "Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it's always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone."
Huffman added that he actively tells people, "Don't install that spyware on your phone."
TikTok pushed back in a statement shared with U.S. TODAY. "These are baseless accusations made without a shred of evidence," a spokesperson said. The video-sharing service is owned by a Chinese company ByteDance.
In a blog post this past November, TikTok U.S. general manager Vanessa Pappas indicated that the company was committed to "prioritizing data security."
"We have a dedicated technical team focused on adhering to robust cybersecurity policies, and data privacy and security practices. In addition, we periodically conduct internal and external reviews of our security practices in an effort to ensure we are keeping up with current risks."
Lawmakers though have fretted over how TikTok handles data. This past Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration said it has stopped allowing employees to use TikTok to create social media posts for the agency after Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer raised concerns about potential national security issues
Parents have also been concerned about their teens' obsession with the app. Earlier this month, TikTok announced a new Family Safety Mode, which gives parents and guardians more control over how much time their kids spend on TikTok.
Reddit has not responded to a U.S. TODAY request for comment.
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