Let’s say you join Facebook, when you download the app onto your phone it will ask to provide access to your phone contacts. Enabling Facebook to build ‘shadow profiles’ of your contacts. So let’s say for example your friend’s phone number is 123456789. If that person with that phone is already a member of Facebook the app will recommend that you become linked friend with them. But if the person with that phone number is not a member of Facebook it will still enable Facebook to build a profile for that person. For example, that person may be a member of Instagram which Facebook also owns. But the methods Facebook uses to create these shadow profiles of your friends and family can even go much deeper, including using facial recognition to identify your contacts, friends and associates. Many people also use the same password on Facebook as they do in their workplace and their personal email address. Enabling Facebook to hack into your personal accounts and even your workplace data. Now it’s highly unlikely that Facebook would ever do this.
China, on the other hand, is a very different story. The Chinese have been found to hack into hundreds of businesses to steal intellectual property, sometimes worth billions of dollar. So whilst some people use TikTok to make videos, they are also handing not only their personal data to the Chinese government but also enabling the Chinese government to build shadow profiles of billions of people around the world!
So when someone asks you why Tik Tok has been banned, the answer to give is…shadow profiles.