Posted: 24/01/2022

Most of us know the popular video-sharing app TikTok with a unique music-themed twist. The company has actively been improving its safety advice content since 2021. What I would like to share with you is the importance to know about privacy and security settings on the app. 

While downloading apps, you will be often asked for permission to access personal information like contacts, your location, or even your camera. The reason for this is that they may need the information to make the app work, but they also may share your information with other companies. 

Due to TikTok this level of interactivity between users, I would highly recommend the following steps to be followed.

The following restrictions are available:
•Online chat restrictions
•Online privacy and identity theft
•Restrict access
•Restrict content
•Restrict data sharing
•Sharing location

While creating your account TikTok will ask you to sign in to using one of your existing social media accounts. The reason for this is to allow the app to gain access to your contact and information on the other social media platform. The app collects many sources of personal information from its user’s data from location, metadata, behavioural and technical information, shared social network data, and much more.

In June last year, a graphic beheading video managed to make it onto the platform and somehow it was classified in the middle of being harmless content. Some of this content will also appear under the 'recommended for you’ feature on the application regardless of your settings. This is due to the ability to add hashtags.

I highly recommend setting up two-factor authentication on all apps and online accounts. It reduces the chances of your account getting hacked by adding another security layer to the login process. If someone gains access to your password and you have enabled two-factor authentication by hacking knowing and entering your password it is not enough. The reason for this is they are unlikely to have access to the second layer which is usually time-sensitive this makes the process a whole lot more secure.

How to set up two-factor authentication in TikTok

1. Open the TikTok app on your mobile phone.

2. You'll need to be logged in to set up two-step verification, so log in to your account if you haven't already.

3. Tap on your Profile.

4. Now tap the hamburger menu button in the top-right corner of your screen.

5. Tap Security and login. This will open a new screen showing several options to secure your TikTok account, such as Security alerts, Manage devices, Manage app permissions, 2-step verification, and a Save login info toggle button.

6.Tap 2-step verification. It is set to Off by default.

7. There are three ways to set up two-step verification in TikTok: via SMS, email, or password. You'll need to select at least two of these verification methods. Once set up, if you or anyone logs in from an unrecognized device or third-party app, TikTok will choose the most secure method to verify your identity, based on your current method of logging in.

8. For this demonstration, select SMS and Email. This means that TikTok will send a verification code to you via SMS (4-digit code) and email (6-digit code) each time there is a login attempt from an unrecognized device or third-party app.

9. Now, tap Turn on.

10. Enter your TikTok password in the space provided and tap Next.

11. Enter your email address and tap Send code. TikTok will send you a code to confirm your email address, so make sure to use an account that you can access.

12. You will receive an email with a 6-digit code. Enter the code in the space provided. This will automatically enable two-step verification. You will then receive a new account email push notification, informing you that a new email has been added to your account. If you do not receive the code, check your spam folder. If you still can't find it, tap on Resend code. Each code is only good for 60 seconds, after which you'll need to tap resend code.

Options available under privacy and settings/safety

There are several options to restrict who can interact with the account user:
•From settings, go to the privacy section.
•Under the safety option, there are several items that need to be enabled or disabled depending on your personal requirements. Look through and change as appropriate.

How to turn on Restricted Mode
•From settings, go to the digital wellbeing section.
•Activate Restricted Mode by switching the button to on.
•You’ll be asked to set a passcode; enter a 4-digit PIN and press next.
•To confirm the PIN, press next.
•The passcode will now be required before restrictive content can be accessed.
•Great feature for anyone up to the age of 15 using your phone.

How to block or report a user
•If you encounter inappropriate content on the platform, you can report or block the user by first selecting the user’s profile name.
•Then on the profile screen, select the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen.
•Select block to block the user or report to report the user.

How to access the TikTok Safety Centre
•From settings, go to the support section and select Safety Centre.
•Here you will find a huge amount of content under the following headings: 
•New user guide 
•Parents and caregivers 
•Our approach to safety 
•Privacy and security on TikTok 
•Safety and privacy controls

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Have a cyber security tip regarding TikTok of your own? Please share them with us in the comment section below.