Hacker group Anonymous has mounted a fierce campaign on the social media platforms to ban TikTok globally, saying it is a malware from the Chinese government that is spying on millions of its users.
The ByteDance-owned platform has been named among 59 Chinese apps that were banned by the Indian government this week. TikTok has nearly 120 million users in the country.
The global backlash against the short-video making app accelerated after the Beta version of iOS 14 exposed it constantly reading user clipboards TikTok later told The Telegraph it would no longer automatically access user clipboards on Apple iPhones.
The Anonymous group tweeted late Wednesday: “Delete TikTok now. 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 shared a link to a Reddit post from an engineer who claimed to have “reverse-engineered” TikTok to find several security and privacy issues.
TikTok was yet to comment on the Reddit post or media reports around it.
“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 5-10 years. This gives China an upper hand on the manipulation of large swaths of society across several countries,” Anonymous further tweeted.
The state-backed media outlet The Global Times tweeted on Wednesday that the loss of ByteDance could reach up to $6 billion after India banned 59 Chinese apps.
“The loss of Chinese internet company ByteDance — mother company of TikTok — could be as high as $6 billion after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, following deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese troops last month,” The Global Times tweeted.
TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said that the company was working with various stakeholders to address the concerns raised by the Indian government, and remain committed to supporting the welfare of TikTok creator community till the interim ban order is in effect.
Mayer, who is also the COO of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, said that their creator managers are actively engaging with top creators to reassure them of their efforts and updates about the path forward.