The Wall Street Journal is reporting some TikTok employees allegedly had access to a list of users who watched LGBT content, raising privacy concerns and sparking fears of potential misuse of the information, according to former employees.
While many social media companies infer user traits from online behavior, tracking sensitive features like sexuality is generally discouraged. TikTok has stated that the dashboard used to access this data was deleted in the US almost a year ago. The company does not infer sensitive information, such as sexual orientation, based on user behavior.
This revelation will likely reignite the debate surrounding the possible banning of TikTok in the United States. A TikTok ban could have ripple effects worldwide, with other countries potentially following suit.
If the Restrict Act passes, US intelligence services would determine whether apps pose threats justifying nationwide bans. As the US and China continue to vie for technological superiority, the potential TikTok ban highlights the broader geopolitical struggle underway.
With 1.8 billion users worldwide, TikTok is a prime example of what might be possible for Chinese tech services in the global market.
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