Expert Opinions

Cybersecurity Experts Agree: TikTok Leads on Safety, Security & Transparency

Harvard Business Review - TikTok Ban Should Worry Every Company

HBR

“If data collection by a company with overseas connections comprises a threat, there are threats all around. The data that TikTok collects pales in comparison to, say, what most American tech companies (as well as banks, credit agencies, and hotels) collect, both visibly and less so. Many institutions that collect sensitive data have already been hacked — it is estimated that there is a cyber attack every 39 seconds — and much of that information is for sale on the Dark Web. If the Chinese government wanted the kind of information TikTok could collect, it could be obtained in many other ways.

“What will likely prove a more pressing threat to U.S. customers is much more low-tech: Setting a precedent of banning everyday technologies could quickly spiral out of control and seriously disrupt almost all international trade.”

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New York Magazine Intelligencer - Are the Security Fears About TikTok Misplaced?

Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway interviewed TikTok General Manager Vanessa Pappas on its Pivot Schooled Live series.

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Fox Business - TikTok Vice President: We're Committed to Providing Value in the US

TikTok’s Michael Beckerman joined Neil Cavuto on Fox Business to discuss the platform, which will “be around for the long haul.”

Full interview available here

Cheddar - TikTok Is Not a National Security Threat 'In Any Way'

“Let me be clear, TikTok’s number one focus is on the safety and security of our community, the users we serve all over the world,” Cloutier told Cheddar. “And at no time have we ever given any information to the Chinese government, and if they asked, we would say no. So no, I do not believe we are a national security threat in any way.”

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Popular Science – Go Ahead and Use TikTok All You Want

Shuman Ghosemajumder, global head of artificial intelligence at F5, an internet infrastructure and security company: “There’s no fundamental difference in using TikTok versus using [apps like] Facebook or Instagram.”

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CNN – Fareed Zakaria's Take on the Administration's Plan to Ban Almost all Chinese IT Products

“Fears about TikTok do seem overblown, the user data on it, names, email addresses, phone numbers, location data, are easy to get through other mechanisms, other apps collect the same information and sell it to anyone who is willing to pay.” – Fareed Zakaria

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I am a CyberSecurity Professional For 25 Years. Here Is How I Use Tik Tok Securely

​”I tried to understand what data does TikTok regularly send back to its servers. I decrypted the content of the requests and analysed it. As far as we can see, in its current state, TikTok doesn’t have a suspicious behavior and is not exfiltrating unusual data. Getting data about the user device is quite common in the mobile world and we would obtain similar results with Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and others.” – Joseph Steinberg

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Center for Strategic & International Studies – How Scary Is TikTok?

“If you have watched TikTok, you may find it addictive, but it contains nothing of intelligence value.”

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Bloomberg – Here’s Why the U.S. Shouldn't Jump to Ban TikTok

“On a relative basis, TikTok isn’t an obvious target in terms of data collection. Its focus is sharing creative short-form videos, like dancing and lip-syncing. The app’s algorithm surfaces relevant content, using metrics like how many similar videos you watched. And compared to an app like Facebook, TikTok doesn’t require a large amount of data entry.”

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Civil Liberties Experts Agree: TikTok Promotes Free Expression & Fair Competition

ACLU - If protecting our data were a true motivating factor, the Trump administration could support comprehensive surveillance reform and consumer privacy legislation

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“This order violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms. The order also harms the privacy and security of millions of existing TikTok and WeChat users in the United States by blocking software updates, which can fix vulnerabilities and make the apps more secure. In implementing President Trump’s abuse of emergency powers, Secretary Ross is undermining our rights and our security. To truly address privacy concerns raised by social media platforms, Congress should enact comprehensive surveillance reform and strong consumer data privacy legislation.”

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Business Insider - Trump's Fight with TikTok isn't Just Short-Sighted, It's Also a Blown Opportunity for the US

Business Insider

“While the current fight over the wildly popular TikTok is just one battle, it is also a chance for the US to counter China and take the lead on crafting international data privacy norms that will dictate the direction of tech for decades to come… Instead of merely celebrating a potential acquisition by an American company, the US should use TikTok as a guinea pig to test a global data governance framework that adopts and builds on ideas like those from Brussels.” – Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

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The New Yorker - Trump’s Incoherent Policy on TikTok and China

“The need for more sophisticated measures to address China’s economic practices has become increasingly clear to Republicans and Democrats alike. But Trump’s fixation on TikTok serves only as a distraction, and highlights just how inadequate the Administration’s response to this challenge has been. ‘The U.S.-China relationship is obviously due for a reset, and Trump, rather than embracing systematic policy change, is doing scattershot things that he thinks will make for good headlines.’” – Robert Kuttner, author of The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy

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New York Times - Trump’s Attacks on TikTok and WeChat Could Further Fracture the Internet

“The president’s restrictions on Chinese tech may be part of an eye-for-an-eye logic called reciprocity. The price could be a global patchwork of online fiefs.”

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American Enterprise Institute - The Questionable Rationale for the TikTok Ban and Forced Sale

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“President Trump’s decision to blackmail ByteDance into a forced sale of TikTok’s business in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada reeks of a Mafia-like deal ‘you can’t afford to turn down.’”

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ACLU - Don't Ban TikTok and WeChat

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“People derive joy from posting songs and videos, or de-stressing in theses tressful times with games or images of cats sitting in boxes. Simply sending a heart emoji to a family member or friend is a meaningful personal communication. People also use the apps for political activism. Influencers like Jalaiah Harmon, James Jones, and Addison Rae have hundreds to millions of followers on TikTok — with all the fun, earnings, and political influence it can bring. “Favoriting” or “liking” a post can convey meaning. It can also be financially important to the platform and to the businesses that advertise their goods and services based on that expressive information.”

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Foreign Policy - Trump’s TikTok and WeChat Bans Could Shatter the Global Internet

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“The new rules will likely accelerate the consolidation of the internet into at least three separate regions centered on the United States, China, and the European Union.”

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American Civil Liberties Union

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“Trump’s executive orders against WeChat and TikTok are yet another abuse of emergency powers under the broad guise of national security. They would violate the First Amendment rights of users in the US who use these apps to communicate with family, friends, or business contacts. Selectively banning entire platforms harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance, including by our own government. To start addressing legitimate privacy concerns, Congress must ensure that any company that services U.S. consumers can only hand over data to a foreign government if there is a warrant or its equivalent.”

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Information Technology & Innovation Foundation – Misguided TikTok and WeChat Bans Risk Fragmenting the Internet Economy

“These executive orders have doubled down on policies that undermine the goal of building an open Internet for global commerce and connectivity. The risk of continuing down this path is that it will lead to a fragmented Internet where each country has its own domestic apps and nothing else. The Trump administration should rethink its approach as it moves forward.”

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Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute

Cato Institute

“This is genuinely horrifying. Trump has just unilaterally issued orders that will effectively remove TikTok and WeChat—both expressive platforms—from U.S. app stores based on a pretext his own cursory rationalization undermines.”

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Internet Governance Project – The Hypocrisy of a U.S. TikTok Ban

“Now more than ever, [the] U.S. needs to retain its identity as a free and open economy, and leverage the competitive advantages that brings… Openness, competition and freedom are sources of strength, not weakness.”

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Slate – The Furor Over TikTok is About Something Much Bigger

“The United States would be wise to spend less time trying to clip the wings of rising entrants to the market and more time working on legislation and the development of standards to better protect privacy, secure data, and manage online content.”

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New York Times – So What Does Trump Have Against TikTok?

“… It’s a deeply misguided and unproductive way to try to secure data and computer networks — one that relies on the profoundly untrue assumption that data stored within a country’s own borders is more secure than data stored in other places.” – Dr. Josephine Wolff, assistant professor of cybersecurity policy at Tufts University

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Associated Press – As Trump Digs in, Will It Be US Versus China in Tech?

“This is a pretty broad and pretty quick expansion of the technology Cold War between the U.S. and China.” – Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity Faculty Director Steven Weber.

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Independent Technology Analyst Wayne Lam

“The tech community will be very hesitant to go along with this app ban. It sets a precedent for the government to ban other apps or even for other global apps to be inaccessible to the US market.”

Families & Friends Agree: TikTok Brings People Together

Business Insider - 22-year-old Uses TikTok to Raise over $3M and Launch a Startup to Cure Loneliness During COVID-19

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“For me, as a user and a business, we use TikTok for a lot for growth right now. At the end of day, I don’t care who owns it or who’s running it. I think what matters is that the core product doesn’t change, that it is really focusing on short-form video and engaging content. That algorithm is incredible,” he said.

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New York Times - How Plants Can Help People Grow

“Marcus Bridgewater, who posts on TikTok as Garden Marcus, shares tips about caring for one’s plants and oneself… On TikTok, Mr. Bridgewater, 33, has shown his 653,000 followers how planting a sweet potato vine in a new spot can help it flourish, a reminder that many living things can benefit from a change of scenery. ‘It can be difficult to re-root, establish new relationships, grow beyond the old form, but it can also be what’s needed to create new and healthier roots in our future,” he said.”

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AdWeek - Moms and Daughters Are Closer Than Ever Since the Pandemic Began

“A gradual change in the modern family has accelerated: Moms and daughters are becoming friends.” How? They are making TikTok videos, among other activities.

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ConnectSafely – Parent’s Guide to TikTok

TikTok has several educational resources for parents including a Top 10 Tips for Parents primer, “You’re in Control” safety educational videos (searchable under @tiktoktips in the app), a Safety Center, and an ongoing blog series with helpful tips to customize your TikTok experience. These tools are a useful resource for parents to begin discussions about TikTok’s in-app safety tools.

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Family Online Safety Institute – Top 10 Digital Parenting Tips

TikTok offers several tools to help your teen manage how they interact with other users and who can see their videos. This includes restrictions for privacy, content, comments, and messages.

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National PTA – TikTok Tips for Parents

As with all apps your teen may use, it’s helpful to know the options you have to make it right for you and your family. We encourage you to take time to explore the tips with your teen, scroll through our safety videos, and dive into the app together to help them learn about the features and settings that can help them customize their experience.

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Common Sense Media – Parents' Ultimate Guide to TikTok

Using any social network can be risky, but it’s possible for kids to safely use the app with adult supervision (and a private account).

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LA Times – How Latino Dads are Using TikTok to Connect With Their Children

Avila said the app had allowed him to break the barriers of raising kids a la antigua (the old way) and instead use new media to better connect with the youth. “With my dad, we can just be ourselves and be funny,” his 15-year-old daughter, Abby, said. “I call him a little kid because he’s just adorable.”

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Good Morning America - Kindergarten Teacher's Sister Films her Doing Above and Beyond During Virtual Learning

Good Morning America

Millions on TikTok are loving a California teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. Shannon McCourt of Monterey Bay has filmed her sister, Kayla McCourt, during e-learning sessions Kayla hosts for her kindergartners… Shannon posted several videos to TikTok of Kayla in action during her classes. Over 5 million viewed the initial footage of Kayla “swimming” for her students while donning a wetsuit.

“I’m happy with all the positivity that’s been spread,” Kayla said. “It’s really rooted from me wanting to do what’s best for my kids and me just missing them.”

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NPR - Mom Of TikTok' Uses App To Bring Realness

NPR

A 48-year-old woman from Nebraska has become an improbable star, racking up 2.9 million followers as the Mom of TikTok. She doles out sometimes controversial advice to teens and parents and makes real connections with her followers.

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Communities Worldwide Agree: TikTok Inspires Creativity & Brings Joy

New York Times - The Woman Taking Over TikTok at the Toughest Time

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To focus on its community, TikTok in July formed a Creator Fund, where creators can earn cash for views, starting with $200 million. And with the pandemic forcing people indoors for the foreseeable future, Ms. Pappas said she and her team were working on making TikTok an uplifting place to visit. Last month, the company launched a largest national advertising campaign on television and digital media, highlighting more than 30 popular creators under the tagline “It starts on TikTok.”

“We’ve built this product for hundreds of millions of people, and we’re not looking for that to change,” said Ms. Pappas, a former YouTube executive.

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AdAge - TikTok's New Ad Campaign: A Love Letter to its Community

“The campaign will ultimately showcase hundreds of creators, who are the lifeblood of the app. They are popular web stars who rose to prominence by shooting the short TikTok videos.”

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Forbes – Broadway Marketers Fear TikTok Ban

Discovery is really happening in the world of TikTok, which is great for new musicals and new shows that are trying to organically reach audiences that might not have heard of them before. – Jim Glaub, founder of Broadway marketing firm Super Awesome Friends.

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Commentary Magazine – Soft Power of TikTok

TikTok is a spectacular piece of pro-American propaganda. It’s soft power for the new century. If the last century was shaped by American movies and music, perhaps this one will be guided by TikTok’s real-life glimpses at gleaming American kitchens. – Rob Long, Hollywood executive producer

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Complex – The Weeknd, TikTok Raise $350K for Equal Justice Initiative, Singer Also Donates $300K to Beirut Explosion Victims

TikTok’s live, interactive virtual concert with The Weeknd…raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative…[a] nonprofit is dedicated to ending mass incarceration in America, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting human rights for the U.S.’s most marginalized groups.

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Shondaland - How to Be Successful on TikTok — and Why We Need the App More Than Ever Right Now

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“It’s a very creative and welcoming space where anybody can feel comfortable creating anything without feeling like they have to be perfect,” says comedian James Henry, who has amassed more than three million followers. “I think that’s one thing it has over every other platform. It’s the one path where I really see people being themselves.”

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SheKnows - I Tried This 3-Ingredient TikTok Recipe That People Can't Stop Eating — Here's How it Went

She Knows

“TikTok is a goldmine for food tips, tricks, hacks and recipes and one, in particular, has become so popular that people can’t pass up giving it a try: cucumber cream cheese boats.”

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Creators Agree: TikTok Helps Them Make a Living Doing What They Love

Cheddar - TikTok Dedicates $1 Billion to Users in New Creator Fund

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“TikTok has launched its new TikTok Creator Fund, dedicated to the users making a difference on the platform. Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships at TikTok, breaks down the fund’s mission.”

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CNBC's Squawk Box - UnitedMasters CEO Steve Stoute: 'TikTok is a Global Power House'

Squawk Box

“These artists–they are small businesses–and make their livelihoods starting off of TikTok and then using that to create different alternative revenue streams,” says UnitedMasters CEO Steve Stoute. “The work he’s done has been phenomenal — I trust Kevin Mayer.”

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Music Business Worldwide - TikTok Bags Exclusive Premiere of David Guetta & Sia’s New Single Let’s Love

Music Business Worldwide

David Guetta and Sia have pre-released their new single Let’s Love for a five-day premiere exclusively on TikTok. TikTok fans will be able to use the new David Guetta and Sia track before it is officially released on September 11 in their own video creations. A-15 second edit is live on the TikTok Sounds Page.

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TechCrunch - TikTok’s Big UnitedMasters Deal is the Way Forward for Creators Looking to Secure Their Bag

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“It’s beyond time for the creators of The Culture to benefit from that culture. That’s why I find this UnitedMasters deal so interesting. Offering a direct pipeline to audiences without the attendant vulture-ism of the recording industry apparatus is really well-aligned with a platform like TikTok, which encourages and enables “viral sounds” with collaborative performances.”

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Rolling Stone - Inside TikTok’s Hidden Hit Machine

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“The viral-video app’s music team has given crucial assists to artists like Roddy Ricch, Doja Cat, and Saweetie… Since last year, when TikTok exploded onto the scene in earnest as the driving platform behind Lil Nas X’s record-breaking ‘Old Town Road’ and Lizzo’s two-year-old sleeper hit ‘Truth Hurts,’ it has become one of the industry’s go-to marketing tools — and a hunting ground for new talent.”

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USA Today - Should Real Estate Investors Use TikTok?

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“The platform reaches far more than just kids and teens. For a real estate investor or agent, TikTok could be a golden opportunity to grow your brand. The TikTok hashtag #realestateinvesting has 68.5 million views.”

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Los Angeles Times - How this Mom of Three Became a TikTok Sensation Making Lunch for her Kids

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“The success of Woo’s TikTok videos couldn’t have come at a better time, as all her freelance makeup gigs were canceled because of the pandemic. She signed with a talent agency and a manager and has been able to monetize her following, working with brands such as Thrive Market, Home Chef, Smithfield and Netflix.”

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Rolling Stone - A Country Song Rode the TikTok Train to Number One in 12 Hours

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“Priscilla Block’s just-released ‘Just About Over You’ is attracting major-label interest after hitting Number One on iTunes”

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New York Times - TikTok Makes a Deal (Not That One)

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“TikTok’s deal with United Masters to allow artists to distribute their songs directly from the app to streaming services like Spotify + Apple Music is a big win for independent artists who keep control of their music.” – Andrew Ross Sorkin

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MIT Technology Review - TikTok Made Him Famous. Now He’s Imagining a World Without It

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“TikTok is the most ‘right now’ of all the platforms where you can get famous in the first place, and for people like Beard it provides things they can’t replicate anywhere else… He worked in food service before his TikTok began to take off. If he couldn’t get enough people to follow him to Twitch or YouTube, if TikTok goes down, he’d have to get a day job again … in the middle of a pandemic.”

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Forbes - Top-Earning TikTok Stars: The Wild Dreams Of Spencer X, Million-Dollar Beatboxer

“He used TikTok’s livestream feature to raise thousands of dollars, the digital equivalent of a sidewalk musical performance with a tip jar left out. ‘I looked at myself in the mirror that night, and I cried,’ he recalls. ‘I had trained all my life for just a little bit of support and now there were thousands of people who actually cared about what I’m doing.'”

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Forbes – TikTok’s 7 Highest-Earning Stars: New Forbes List Led By Teen Queens Addison Rae And Charli D’Amelio

Few people have gotten more out of the video-sharing app than Addison Rae and the six other young celebrities on Forbes’ first-ever list of TikTok’s highest-paid stars. These viral video creators…have only just begun to monetize their fame, primarily through sales of personally branded merchandise and sponsored content for brands such as Sony, Chipotle and Revlon.

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Washington Post – For TikTok Stars, Trump’s Banning of the App Would be Devastating: It’s ‘Given Me My Entire Life’

Spencer Polanco, 29, dreamed of becoming a professional beatboxer, though he knew that was a virtually unheard-of career path. In his words, he was “fighting for something no one really cares about.” Then, he downloaded TikTok. Today, he has nearly 40 million followers, his videos having amassed nearly 1 billion likes. He’s gained corporate sponsorships with brands like Uno, Oreo and Sony, and he’s met celebrities like Alicia Keys and Marshmello.

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Variety – Why TikTok Stars Will Survive No Matter What

How do you make silly videos when you can’t leave your living room and there’s so much sadness and suffering going on in the world? Still, that isn’t stopping them from signing lucrative sponsorship deals with Hollister, Truly Beauty, Tinder, House Party, Kaiser Permanente and other brands.

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Variety – TikTok’s Highest-Earning Star Is Addison Rae, Who Takes Home $5 Million per Year

Addison Rae leads a new list of the top-earning TikTok stars, generating income of about $5 million for the 12-month period ending in June 2020, according to a report from Forbes.

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LA Times – TikTok Funds Top Creators to Fend Off Rivals as Trump Administration Threatens Ban

TikTok values their creators and understands that their content is what makes the platform successful… That acknowledgment is critical and will help build long-term loyalty with creators. – Stephanie Smith, UTA IQ agent

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Brands Agree: TikTok Helps Connect with Gen-Z Like Never Before

Business Insider - A TikTok Ban Could be Devastating for American Retailers

Business Insider

Retailers can scale their advertising on TikTok, from brand takeovers for $50,000-100,000 to native ad campaigns for a minimum of $500. Not included in TikTok’s revenue is the amount brands put toward influencer marketing. Many creatives are compensated directly by brands and pay is scaled based on the number of followers and average engagement that the user has. Further, some brands might choose to compensate influencers with products. For the early adopters of TikTok advertising, the app has proven to be a worthwhile investment in a short amount of time. A few big winners include:

  • American Eagle’s Aerie brand, which reported a 100% jump in Q2 sales after engaging with a popular TikTok influencer for the #AerieRealPositivity challenge.
  • Mattel, which reported a 116% increase in UNO sales from May 2019 to May 2020 after deploying influencers to promote the card game in its #unowhoyouare TikTok campaign this spring.
  • Levi, which hired four TikTok influencers to create personalized denim pieces that were promoted via in-feed ads. Product views for these custom pieces doubled during the campaign and Levi’s digital business also doubled from last year, now accounting for 15% of its total revenue.

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Business Insider - Top 22 Brands Dominating TikTok and How Brands like Nike and Chipotle are Winning over Gen Z

Business Insider

From clothing chains to snack companies, brands are taking over TikTok. Even Walmart, the almost 60-year-old big-box retailer, has an active presence on the social media platform that has gained explosive popularity among young people, especially Gen Z. Brands that are successful on TikTok generally utilize a mix of user-generated content, exclusive videos, and viral challenges.

Business Insider asked four social media and marketing experts which brands are finding the most success on TikTok and why. While many of the brands recommended have over one million followers, experts agreed that while helpful, a high follower count is not necessarily required for success on TikTok.

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Ad Age - TikTok Signs Deal with Yankees

Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and regional sports network YES Network have announced a multiyear strategic partnership with social media platform TikTok.

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TechCrunch – Levi’s Partnered with TikTok on Social Commerce and Doubled its Product Views

Levi’s is leveraging its advertising partnership with TikTok to connect online shoppers with the denim brand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced retailers to close their doors — including most of Levi’s own stores. The company announced today its success as one of the first retailers to use TikTok’s “Shop Now” buttons that allow consumers to make purchases through links posted to TikTok.

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MobileMarketer – Bumble Boosts App Installs with Direct Response Ads on TikTok

Bumble worked with social influencers on TikTok to boost awareness of its app, a strategy that has become more popular as marketers seek to cut through add clutter by working with tastemakers and content creators who have a dedicated following.

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AdWeek – DSW’s #TooManyShoes TikTok Challenge Generates 1.7 Billion Views in a Few Days

When its first TikTok hashtag challenge launched Saturday, footwear retailer DSW’s aim was to merely dip its toe into the social media platform, in the words of CMO Amy Stevenson. The testing of those waters, however, proved to be more of a plunge: As of Wednesday, its #TooManyShoes campaign has generated some 1.7 billion views, she said.

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