Businesses may want to rethink how they use TikTok as a platform because of the concerns raised by US politicians regarding the company’s data privacy practices.
Consumers have elevated privacy to a top priority across all digital channels. Many people are becoming more selective about what they share on social media and with whom to secure their data.
Engaging with and converting customers challenges social media managers, business owners, and content producers who run social media accounts. Additionally, some countries have passed laws and decrees that have an impact on marketers and necessitate action to assure compliance.
Apart from the actions businesses take on a social network, which platform they choose is also vital. Data privacy concerns about TikTok have been going on for years, and now it is a hot debate once again.
Choosing the right social media platform for data privacy
According to Statista, TikTok has more than 1 billion users, a 45% growth from its 689 million users in 2020. Businesses increasingly use well-known social networking sites to connect with eager younger customers.
“Organizations are turning to popular social media applications like TikTok for advertising purposes,” an adjunct professor in the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement, Demetrice Rogers, stated.
However, TikTok, which Beijing-based ByteDance runs, has drawn criticism from the U.S. Congress for its suspicious data gathering methods. Leaked audio from internal meetings at TikTok showed that ByteDance staff members in China frequently accessed U.S. data, despite repeated promises during hearings that TikTok does not collect and exchange U.S. user data with China.
If it turns out that ByteDance is giving the Chinese government access to customer data from the United States, the committee stated that TikTok “not only did TikTok misrepresent or provide false testimony about its data management and security practices, but it has placed the safety and privacy of millions of U.S. citizens in jeopardy.”
Experts warn businesses to carefully consider their social media strategy before linking to platforms that could potentially influence data privacy in light of the data privacy complaints leveled at TikTok.
A planned social media strategy is key
A corporation should consider any privacy concerns while advertising on a network like TikTok, according to Tulane University’s Rogers, and “fully understand the data use policy of TikTok” before joining a social media platform.
“While the organization could prosper by utilizing the platform for advertising, consumers could view the company negatively based on their use of tailored advertisements,” he explained.
According to Dominque Shelton Leipzig, a partner at Mayer Brown and a cybersecurity and data privacy practice member, a company’s social media use, including social media marketing, should be a component of its overall digital innovation and data initiatives. She oversees data management and privacy for ad tech and worldwide data innovation.
According to Shelton Leipzig, some general inquiries that corporate officers and directors could make of chief marketing officers regarding the use of social media include: “Are we communicating brand, value, and trust?” “Will our efforts demonstrate responsible data stewardship?” and “Have we vetted the types of ads that might appear next to the context we post?”
“It is critical for corporate leadership to include digital marketing in their oversight role. The types of things for corporate leaders to consider when it comes to use of platforms is how the company’s digital footprint jibes with its overall reputation for responsible data stewardship and trust,” she explained.
Understanding the privacy regulations that apply to your business, following your privacy and social media policies, being aware of underage social media users, having security systems in place, and most importantly, being open and honest with your customers is the most important thing for your business.