5 settings that protect your privacy on TikTok

5 settings that protect your privacy on TikTok

Do these must-change settings to narrow the exposure of your personal data and security

by Kurt Knutsson

Despite how powerfully good it can be for those who engage in its entertaining videos and learn new tips, TikTok is increasing a growing threat to our privacy and security.

Buh bye Facebook and Instagram.

TikTok is gaining ground in the social media platform world.  All the cool kids use TikTok.  And most don’t bat an eye while laughing at, liking, and sharing one video after another.

It’s addictive, informative, and fun.  TikTok, even more than other social networks, comes at an enormous trade-off to your privacy and security because of how and what it gathers about your life.  The threat posed by TikTok is so extreme that some countries have banned it altogether.  It’s not uncommon for parents who work at big tech companies to forbid the use of TikTok by their own children.

That’s not slowing its growth.   So how do tame this beast of all its bad traits?

Sure the safest thing to do is never download or delete TikTok right away, but that’s not going to fly with most people.

Follow me here, cause I think we can strike a balance and make everyone in the family happy while getting a lot smarter about what TikTok is doing behind the scenes with our lives.  There’s one obvious wake-up call I ask of every parent.

Ask this one question

Am I okay with the government of communist China having access to my child’s intimate personal details, knowing what gets their attention, and tracking their whereabouts at all times?

That’s not all TikTok is harvesting of your family’s security and privacy.  They are stealthily scraping bits and pieces of your life in order to serve up videos it’s learned you’ll watch and to turn you into a juicy ad target.  That part is the obvious trade-off we expect in a data mining financial model that is standard for every major big tech media company.

The Chinese government can access your data from TikTok

The concerning part unique with TikTok, is that it is owned by a parent company ByteDance whose home is in mainland China.  And in that country, the government laws require ByteDance to give access to its data for any reason whatsoever and without any sort of court order or warrant.    TikTok maintains that it is operated independently of ByteDance but data moving from its U.S. servers to mainland China has already been identified.

So what, right?  TikTok collects a massive array of data that it then processes through a machine algorithm to master aspects of your life in extraordinary detail.   TikTok is known to record the device you are using, your location, IP address, search history, everything in all of your messages, what you watch and for how long, biometric information including your face and voice prints, who you know, and how you interact with them.

TikTok knows more about you than you ever imagined

What sophisticated algorithms driving social media networks like TikTok are capable of identifying are what topics and emotional tones capture your attention most easily.   All of this crafting of your communications and interactions makes for an easy target for TikTok to steer in one direction or another knowing what you will react to like a puppet.   It may sound like science fiction, but it is the very reason why many Silicon Valley executives do not allow their own children on TikTok and several other social media platforms.

Balance the bad with the benefits

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  TikTok has some extraordinary benefits that make it the fastest-growing social network.  Just the other week, we had dinner with the former head of a network who shared that a 19-year-old TikTok star was house shopping in his Mercedes G-wagon across the street from their family’s home.

TikTok can make you famous.  It can help you educate millions of people to do something in their life better.  It can amplify your creative talents to the world like no other video medium.

There are several pros to TikTok and the sharing of videos in this engaging social connection.  Why? Just look at the plenty of reasons why TikTok is not just for kids and why you want to use it.   I’m just saying, let’s not put our heads in the sand about the obvious trouble that useful tools and technologies can bring while shifting the human race.

Knowing the good and being informed about how to taper the bad can make us all better.

How to limit TikTok from prying into your privacy and security

Let’s narrow the exposure we are handing over to TikTok by changing a few basic settings.  Follow these steps with everyone in the family who uses TikTok.  Then share these tips with anyone you love who could benefit from getting a bit of leverage over TikTok.

#1 Disable Sharing your Contacts with TikTok

How to turn off access to Your Contacts and Facebook Friends

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >   Privacy  > Sync Contacts and Facebook Friends
  4. Turn toggles off to gray to block access to contacts and Facebook Friends

Tik Tok Profile And Privacy And Settings

#2 Turn off Ad Targeting

How to disable personalized Ad Targeting

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >  Privacy  >  toggle off Ads Personalization to gray

 

#3 Keep your profile anonymous

How to make your account private

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >   Privacy  >  toggle on Private Account to on position so that it is green

#4 Limit how people can find you

How to turn off Suggest Your Account to Others

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >   Privacy  > turn off all 4 options to gray in Suggest Your Account to Others

 

#5 Hide what you ‘like’

How to prevent TikTok from sharing your ‘likes’

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >   Privacy  >  tap Following List in the safety section and set to Only Me

 

Protect your Privacy

Use a VPN

Among the many ways to protect against who can track you, who can see what you write and what websites you visit, be sure to use a VPN.  If you’re curious about exploring VPN service providers, check out our Best VPNs for 2022 article.

Use a private and secure email account

By creating an email alias, you’ll be able to anonymously create an account on sites and apps like TikTok.  With our #1 private and secure mail provider StartMail, you can create unlimited alias email addresses (you can even use a fake name), and separate them all.

Read more of my review here about how you can stop companies like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN and AOL from selling your information.

 

The one thing everyone on TikTok should do for their safety

Download what TikTok knows about you by requesting your data

  1. Launch TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile on the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu at the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings and Privacy  >   Privacy  >  tap Download Your Data

It takes a few days to receive the link to your TikTok data to download.   Be on the lookout for the TikTok link to your data report since you only have 4 days before the link expires.  Send me a note if you aren’t as shocked as I was when I saw what TikTok had recorded of my life.  Share this with every relative who has kids – -they deserve to know how to protect themselves while embracing something that has the potential to bring about so much good.

 

 

Related Articles

GET MY FREE CYBERGUY REPORT
Subscribe to receive my latest Tech news, tips & tricks, and deals newsletter. (We won't spam or share your email with anyone else.)

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Tips to avoid our newsletters going to your junk folder