NPR News: The Future of TikTok in the United States (ft. Jen Golbeck)

INFO Staff - April 17, 2024

INFO Professor Jen Golbeck discusses TikTok data collection with NPR

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In two recent NPR interviews with Morning Edition and 1A Podcast, University of Maryland College of Information Studies (INFO) Professor Jen Golbeck discussed the social media platform TikTok and the concerns over potential data collection in the United States. 

Although TikTok, a Chinese owned company, denied data tracking, Golbeck commented on the national security issue that falls under user data collection. With access to location, even with settings turned off, China could track government officials and military personnel. China could also target swing voters by their state location and influence elections via opinion-swaying information. 

Golbeck explained to host A Martinez that, like many other social media platforms, TikTok is able to collect “fine grained data about people, their activities, the data on their devices, and their preferences.” This occurs in other popular apps too, like Meta and X, and that is something Golbeck wants to highlight. She believes that social media platforms across the board need more regulation on what they are allowed and not allowed to do with users’ data. She asks her host, “What rights do [people] have over their data?”

The original podcast, hosted by A Martinez, was posted to NPR on March 20, 2024 March 15, 2024. Full transcript here.

The original podcast, hosted by Jen White, was posted to NPR 1A on March 20, 2024. Full transcript here.