Joe Rogan is warning Americans that using TikTok increases the risk that their data will end up in the hands of China.

The stand-up comedian and host of the popular “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast on Spotify delved into TikTok’s terms of service on the most recent episode of his show.

“I read TikTok’s terms of service, I went down a TikTok rabbit hole yesterday … This is so crazy,” Rogan said Tuesday.

His guest, podcaster and comedian Theo Von, asked: “Is it good or bad?”

“Bad!” Rogan said.

“Listen to this, this is from TikTok’s privacy policy,” Rogan said.

“It said, ‘We collect certain information about the device you use to access the platform, such as your IP address, user region.’ This is really crazy.”

Rogan listed the other data being collected by the popular platform.

“‘User agent, mobile carrier, time zone settings, identifiers for advertising purpose, model of your device, the device system, network type, device IDs, your screen resolution and operating system, app and file names and types,’” he said. “So all your apps and all your file names, all the things you have filed away on your phone, they have access to that.”

He continued: “‘File names and types, keystroke patterns or rhythms.’”

Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan is warning his listeners about the dangers of TikTok.
Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan is warning his listeners about the dangers of TikTok.
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via

“So they’re monitoring your keystrokes, which means they know every f—ing thing you type,” Rogan added.

Rogan said that TikTok is able to glean information about “‘battery state, audio settings, and connected audio devices, where you log in from multiple devices.’”

“Meaning they can use other computers that you’re not even using to log into TikTok. They can suck the data off that. That’s what you’re agreeing to when you download and start using TikTok,” he said.

Von interjected: “Just tell me how it ends, man.”

TikTok is the property of ByteDance, a Chinese-based company with ties to the ruling Communist Party in Beijing.
TikTok is the property of ByteDance, a China-based company with ties to the ruling Communist Party in Beijing.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

“It ends with China having all of your data,” Rogan said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the tech news site Gizmodo reported that leaked internal documents from TikTok showed the extent to which the app sought to “downplay the China association.”

The documents, labeled “TikTok Master Messaging” and “TikTok Key Messages,” detail the social media giant’s public relations strategy during a period of mounting scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers over its parent company ByteDance and its ties to the Chinese Community Party.

TikTok is trying to ease concerns among the public that their user data could fall into the wrong hands by declaring its “commitment to transparency.”

“At TikTok, we aim to build responsibly and equitably so our community can safely create, share, and enjoy creative and entertaining content on our app,” said TikTok’s chief operating officer, Vanessa Pappas.

“We work to earn and maintain trust through ongoing transparency into the actions we take to safeguard our platform, because we know that just saying ‘trust us’ is not enough.”

TikTok has sought to distance itself from its association with China.
TikTok has sought to distance itself from its association with China.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Pappas said TikTok has taken steps to that effect, including “allowing experts to access our moderation practices.”

TikTok has pledged to “publish insights about the covert influence operations we identify and remove from our platform globally to show how seriously we take attempts to mislead our community.”

Additional reporting by Thomas Barrabi



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Tyler Cowan