Buying Fake TikTok Followers Can Be At Cost of Risking Privacy, Says Report

Every other day TikTok turns an ordinary individual into an online celebrity, while many already popular personalities also have moved to the platform to enhance their digital presence.

With the growing popularity of TikTok, many shady players have come forward to help those who are looking for instant virality. The number of vendors can be found online who are selling likes, shares, and followers at a reasonable price to boost your account engagement.

On average, 100 likes are available for US $2 only, and with a minimal amount, you can become from nobody to celebrity. However, it is not yet from where these followers come.

Recently, Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) disclosed the unauthentic profiles and their activity on TikTok. It has not been yet confirmed whether the followers are actual people or bots. There are no display pictures or stolen photos, but only alphanumerical handles with no proper content available on accounts.

Kanishk Karan, research at DFRLab said, the pay-for-engagement industry is growing, not only for TikTok but the fake engagement is an issue faced by all leading social platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

For a long time, online social platforms have been dealing with fake engagements. The companies provide followers for TikTok as well as engagements for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, Twitch, Soundcloud and even for messaging app, Telegram.

Many social media platforms have taken action and deleted the accounts with fake followers or engagements. Like in 2019, Facebook and Instagram took a bold step by suing four Asian companies that have been selling fake accounts, followers and likes.

TikTok’s community guidelines clearly points out the inauthentic activities are against the rules of the platform. However, on this specific report, ByteDance, TikTok parent company responded neither released any statement so far.

In case, anyone is planning to get the instant TikTok followers should be aware of the fact that they are putting their privacy at risk, says the report by DFRLab. There are around 50 apps on Google Play Store that provide inauthentic engagement services including likes, followers and shares but also ask for access to several features or data on phone.

After installing such apps, they demand many permissions on an Android device. They often ask for access to the contact list of Phone and the permission to modify the content. The privacy policies of many apps are missing and even if they have, they are usually copied from other apps.

Google’s rule demands that Play Store apps and their developers should tell how they collect data and how it is used and shared. So far Google also has not commented on this particular issue.

There are many scam apps on Play Store and not all deliver as they promise. Many apps claim to offer followers in between one to seven days and during that time, they flood phones with ads. One of the apps asks to share 10 videos on TikTok before it further shares the content. Another app asked to use a certain hashtag to get the likes or another asking to watch a video to show that you are human.

Most apps that tout to increase fake engagement offer little to no results, but one thing that they do amazingly well is snoop on your data with full force and probably sell it to highest bidder.

Read next: TikTok nation to grow, expected to be about 50 Million U.S. users by 2021
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