28 May TikTok takes teens attention across Africa
Africa’s cybersecurity marketplace is still in its infancy, with incredible potential for growth, however controversial app TikTok is now sweeping across Africa’s youths, being downloaded to phones across the continent on mass.
TikTok, created in 2016 by Chinese company ByteDance, became the world’s most downloaded app in April 2020, with more than 2 billion downloads to date on Apple’s App Store or on Google Play. The latest statistics released by TikTok, in January 2021, show the platform had 689m monthly users worldwide, with numbers expected to continue to grow.
What is controversial about TikTok?
During the Security Middle East Conference in 2023, Steven Kenny of Axis Communications shared the shocking information that before TikTok has finished being installed on a phone – the second a customer agrees to download it – they have essentially exchanged all of their personal data with the owners of the app.
This means internet usage, personal details such as name and location, even a persons shopping habits, all of it is immediately transferred to the cloud and banked within servers in the Chinese mega-conglomerate.
In recent months before the release of this article, governments, such as the United Kingdoms, banned the use of TikTok on government phones, due to the invasive nature of the software.
With more rudimentary data protection laws and a lesser level of cybersecurity across Africa, the youths of Africa could very well be unknowingly sharing petabytes of information without any knowledge of the fact.
More data protection laws and continued advancements of cyber technology are required to ensure the safety of youths through the continent.