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TikTok user disappointed with inventor of Chinese app

An avid Samoan TikTok user has expressed disappointment with reports her personal information is being used by the video sharing application and even allegedly sent to Beijing.

Mema Papali'i, who is among hundreds of Samoans who use the app and has over 1,000 followers, told the Samoa Observer she is aware of the reports but did not know that her personal information is allegedly used by the Chinese-made app.

"I am aware of that but it would have been nice if the (Chinese) inventor would let me know first," she said.

"I spend almost every second and minutes of my time abusing the tik tok app, especially when I am out of chores to do at home, it's the only thing keeping me company during this lockdown.”

With the country currently in a state of emergency (S.O.E.) and a lockdown that has restricted movement and business hours, Ms  Papalii said she uses the app to keep herself busy during her isolation periods as part of the lockdown. 

And while the Chinese-made app could potentially be a security threat, she said it is a stress reliever and is good entertainment for someone in a lockdown situation. 

"As we are in a lockdown situation which can be stressful, this is what I do. I do TikTok videos to help remove my stress, my anger issues and it can easily change my mood. Like they say laughter is a good medicine for the soul," she added. 

But the risks of the app breaching her privacy continues to bother her, as she is of the view that the inventor of TikTok should have given her the heads up on what he intended to do with her personal information.  

A video of the social video app coming under scrutiny in a U.S. Government Senate subcommittee hearing in November last year has been shared in recent days amongst Samoa’s TikTok users.  

According to the U.S. NBC News, both TikTok and America’s Apple were invited to appear in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing titled "How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors." Both companies declined to appear.

TikTok was created and launched in China in 2016 and introduced in overseas markets in 2017 by Beijing company ByteDance, which was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming, who is now one of China’s richest men. 

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