Explained: What data does TikTok collect?

Eray Eliaçik
Mar 28, 2023

While Tiktok ban news continues to come from all over the world, the popular question is "What data does TikTok collect?" and why is it important?

The biggest issue over TikTok's safety is connected to national security, notably the likelihood that ByteDance's ownership of the app may provide the Chinese government with access to the personal data of its users. So what data do they have exactly? Let's take a closer look.

What data does TikTok collect?

TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to share short-form videos. However, when users download and install the app on their phones, they agree to give up a significant amount of personal information, which has raised concerns among users and privacy advocates.

In addition to the information mentioned in the original text, TikTok also collects data on a user's location, contacts, and messages. This means that the app can access and store the phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact information of a user's friends and family members.

Moreover, TikTok's algorithm uses machine learning to analyze user behavior and preferences, which allows the app to suggest personalized content and ads to users. This means that the app collects data on a user's likes, comments, and shares, as well as their interactions with other users.

Here is the full list of what data TikTok collects:

  • Purchase information, including payment card numbers, billing, and shipping addresses.
  • User’s activities on other websites and apps or in stores, including the products or services purchased, online or in person.
  • File names and types.
  • Keystroke patterns and rhythms.
  • IP address, mobile carrier, time zone settings, model of the device, and operating system.
  • Information about videos, images, and audio.
  • Objects and scenery that appear in videos, including tourist attractions, shops, or other points of interest.
  • Biometric identifiers such as faceprints and voiceprints.
  • Cookies that collect, measure, and analyze which web pages users view most often and how they interact with content.
  • Small images or pieces of data embedded in images and ads that can recognize the time and date a page is viewed and a description of that page.

“The TikTok app is not unique in the amount of information it collects, compared to other mobile apps”


The collection of such extensive data can lead to concerns regarding user privacy, security, and data protection. Therefore, users should be aware of the extent to which their personal information is being collected and shared when using TikTok. They should take steps to protect their privacy and data security, such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and regularly reviewing and adjusting their privacy settings.


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  1. JohnJon said on March 30, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    What.About.ism is the biggest issue here. There are major American companies that collect even more data than TikTok does. Far, far more.

    Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook… I’d wager that every company that can get away with massive data collection, data hording, data sharing and data selling is already doing so.

    Apple, for example, literally hands over all data on Chinese citizens to China. Tim Cook recently (and gleefully) called Apple’s relationship with China a symbiotic one. Best friends forever.

    The TikTok issue isn’t about data collection. Every government in the world wishes to continue this practice. They are so gung-ho about violating our right to privacy, most are insisting on backdoors to encryption.

    The issue with TikTok is that it’s associated with a country that is currently deemed an enemy of the state. This is Cold War version 2.0. Legislation enacted against TikTok will be similar to that seen after 911. That is, more government control over our digital rights.

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