TikTok has a track record of collecting large chunks of data from its users aggressively to track them. The app seems unstoppable due to its seemingly manipulative algorithm. As a user, you can’t tell where your information goes and who uses it.
Well, that’s enough reason to ditch TikTok. But if you must use it, you can still stop it from tracking you—at least to a significant extent. Here, we’ll discuss the different ways you can achieve this. Let’s see what they are, shall we?
1. Avoid Registering With Third-Party Social Apps
Like many other apps, TikTok allows users to register or log into the platform using their social accounts, including Facebook and Twitter. While you might find this easier than filling registration fields from scratch, it helps TikTok seamlessly collect your data on these social apps and monitor your movements online. So, you might want to avoid it.
You can choose the Use phone or email option to avoid using your social account when registering on TikTok for the first time. However, keep in mind that your data still goes to TikTok if you use this option. You might want to stick to registering with your email address only to avoid leaking your phone number to data collectors.
2. Use TikTok as a Viewer
Perhaps you can’t help but view TikTok in a day due to its wealth of content? Thankfully, you can use the app without opening an account. And you’ll also be able to view as much content this way.
Looking at how TikTok collects data from the browser and mobile app cookies, there’s hardly a way to stop it from sniffing. But your data is a step away from TikTok’s reach if you use it without registering. Besides, it becomes hard for TikTok to see your profile on other social apps.
3. Disallow Cookies in Apps and Browsers
For instance, you sometimes access Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook directly from your browser. And these store cookies that TikTok might tap as well.
TikTok uses this information to track your network traffic and send insights about you to third-party vendors and advertisers for tailored content and ads across websites and platforms. Hence, you can stall TikTok’s data mining by stopping your browser from storing cookies.
4. Use Proxy Services and VPNs When Accessing TikTok
Location tracking is part of what someone can do with your IP address. And TikTok doesn’t fall behind with this as well. Whether you register on TikTok or not, it uses your device’s IP address to determine your location whenever you open the app. This is how it tailors localized content for your feed.
However, you can use premium proxies and virtual private networks (VPNs) to fool TikTok’s algorithm into seeing you in another location. While proxy services help mask your IP address, a VPN service changes your location. So, you might use either or combine both when using TikTok for a better result.
5. Use a Private Browser for TikTok Web
The most probable way to access TikTok on a PC is via the browser when the need for a larger screen is inevitable. But TikTok gets better access to your cookies when you access it over the browser.
Therefore, another way to mask yourself against TikTok’s data mining is to use private browsers like Tor and DuckDuckGo if you’re accessing it via a web browser.
6. Use Privacy Browser Plugins
Privacy browsers might also buttress your anonymity while using TikTok via the browser. Thankfully, Chrome has a couple of security extensions for this purpose.
Some of these extensions work by blocking traffic trackers like TikTok, while others like Blur help hide your email address while registering on a website. So, of course, using such browser extensions when opening an account on TikTok might prevent it from knowing your email address in the long run.
Although TikTok asks you to sync your profile with your phone book and Facebook contacts, it can still leverage this to stalk you. It might even get clues about who you call and who calls you.
With that said, you can turn off contact syncing easily inside the TikTok app. You can achieve this by going to your profile on TikTok by tapping the Profile icon in the lower-right corner. Next, tap on the three horizontal bars at the top-right and select Settings and privacy > Privacy > Sync contacts and Facebook friends. Toggle off Sync contacts and Sync Facebook friends.
8. Don’t Allow TikTok to Suggest Your Account
One of TikTok’s privacy features is account suggestion, which allows it to feed your profile to your phone contacts, Facebook friends, and those who have mutual connections with your friends. This might go a long way to expose your profile to TikTok on other platforms since TikTok needs to scan them to watch your profile.
To deactivate this feature, go to your TikTok profile and tap the three horizontal bars at the top-right. Select Settings and privacy > Privacy > Suggest your account to others. Toggle off all the options in that menu.
9. Sign Up on TikTok With Hide My Email on iPhone and iPad
Apple offers the Hide My Email feature as an extra layer of masking in iOS and iPadOS, which can also help prevent TikTok from collecting your data online.
As you probably know, Hide My Email is an iCloud Keychain feature that masks your actual email address while registering on a website or app for the first time. Hence, signing in to TikTok with Hide My Email activated goes a long way to prevent TikTok from tracking you.
Can You Really Stop TikTok From Tracking You?
TikTok’s data collection algorithm is far from what we can call simple. The company designed it to collect data aggressively from users, whether they create an account and log into the app or not. Invariably, TikTok starts tracking you immediately after you open it.
But while we’ve mentioned ways to prevent TikTok from tracking you, it’s needful to say blocking it outright from doing so is nearly impossible as far as you use the app one way or another. But these methods will significantly reduce what TikTok knows about you.
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