Anonymous Targets TikTok After Claiming App Is Chinese Government’s Spying Operation
Anonymous is known for its high profile targets: Donald Trump, the Ku Klux Klan, ISIS and even NASA are just a few of those seemingly outed by the organisation in recent years.
Now though, the hacktivist collective has set its sights on TikTok, the viral video sharing app that has become somewhat of a staple for many in recent months.
Why? Well, according to the group, the app is allegedly a way for the Chinese government to conduct a worldwide spying operation. As though 2020 couldn’t get any more surreal.
‘Delete TikTok now,’ Anonymous’s official account tweeted yesterday, July 1. ‘If you know someone that is using it, explain to them that it is essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.’
The account linked to a story that has gone viral in recent days following a Reddit post from an engineer who claimed to have ‘reverse engineered’ TikTok earlier this year.
In that particular post, the engineer alleged to find a whole host of security and privacy breaches, stating: ‘They don’t want you to know how much information they’re collecting on you, and the security implications of all of that data in one place, en masse, are f*cking huge.’
A statement from Anonymous read:
TikTok is harvesting data on children/teens to monitor their market reach and political development, to find the best methodologies to coerce them within the next five to ten years.
This gives China an upper hand on manipulating large swaths of society across several countries.
As of yet, there has been no confirmation relating to the accuracy of these allegations, and TikTok is yet to respond to the claims.
Prior to Anonymous’s condemnation, TikTok had already come under fire over allegations of data mishandling and censorship. Then, it was claimed the app was secretly accessing users’ clipboards.
A backlash followed, and towards the end of last month India banned the app – along with 58 other Chinese apps – meaning it can no longer be downloaded from the App Store and Play Store in the country.
Citing national security concerns, India’s Ministry of Information Technology said in a statement that the Chinese apps were ‘stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner’.
The statement continued, as per Dazed:
The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
It needs to be noted that there is no evidence the claims mentioned within this article are true, and the allegations remain as just that for the time being.
For those wondering whether they should delete the app, it’s not known where Anonymous gets its information from, and the group rarely reveals its sources, so it’s difficult to make a judgement call on this one, I’m afraid.
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CreditsAnonymous/Twitter and 3 others