TikTok contributors are mostly social media influencers who are paid to endorse well-known brands within their videos.
Influencers and brands are supposed to disclose sponsored content with “branded content tools,” to clearly show that what you're seeing is an ad. But it doesn’t always happen. “I don't think anybody who uses TikTok or really any of these platforms is particularly surprised to find out that things that they see are ads that aren't marked as ads,” said Morrison. “I don’t know how many of them are intentionally trying to deceive their audience — I think a lot of them just do hashtag ‘the brand’ and maybe think that's enough.”And disclosing ads isn’t just a matter of social media etiquette. It’s federal law, under the the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Consumer protections for TV and internet ads have existed for decades. The reason? So people don't get ripped off.“You want people to know that you've been paid to tell them that product is good. And the people watching it will sort of take that with a grain of salt and make a more informed decision of what they’re purchasing. That's why we have them,” Morrison said. “When the internet and social media come along, it's a lot harder to know where all these things are happening.”
But it's not just TikTokers with millions of followers who are breaking the rules. Morrison first started investigating the sketchy side of TikTok ads after hearing about undisclosed ads for Feet Finder. "People were signing up [for Feet Finder]. It's $5 a month to 'sell photos of your feet.' People were seeing accounts they're fans of saying, 'you can make tens of thousands of dollars doing this.' So not only are they putting pictures of their feet on a fetish site, but they're also paying to do that…You can see where it's a lot more damaging than other [cases]."
Despite the repeated assurances that TikTok's parent company, the China-based ByteDance, isn't checking out data collected about users in the U.S., it looks like the company absolutely does and can.On Jul 1, TikTok confirmed that employees based in China are able to access U.S. user data through "approval protocols." According to the New York Times, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew provided details about how it plans to keep data about its American users separate from ByteDance, its Chinese parent company, in a letter to nine Republican senators. One member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department said, in September 2021, that "everything is seen in China," according to BuzzFeed News. Apparently, there's even one Beijing-based engineer who "has access to everything" — they call them a "Master Admin."That means former President Donald Trump may have been correct in his assessment of the app when he said in an August 2020 executive order that TikTok's "data collection threatens to allow" China to "access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information." TikTok repeatedly said it has never and would never share U.S. user data with the Chinese government.
I wonder if someone is not into it but just curious to just see what child porn might look like and they do a G search, which will not of course show it, if the FBI would be notified.