TikTok: social media sensation for Gen Z and what keeps Mark Zuckerberg up at night. The app was recently referred to by Reddit’s CEO as “fundamentally parasitic.”
Steve Huffman, who turned 36 last November and this week being criticized for new censorship proposals on Reddit, clearly doesn’t “understand” TikTok, since it seems that few people over the age of 25 are able to.
What it offers is essentially an endless feed of 15 seconds (increased from the initial six) showcasing mainly “zoomers” enacting the latest trendy meme, dancing, trying to be funny or occasionally doing something genuinely creative and interesting.
Huffman’s criticisms weren’t so much of TikTok’s features or experience though, but rather in what likely made it successful to begin with: its analytics.
On Wednesday, Silicon Valley held its one-day Social 2030 conference.
When the conversation became about TikTok’s feature innovations, Huffman refused to acknowledge that anything can be learned from what he called “spyware.”
“I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them,” Huffman said. “Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.”
“Don’t install that spyware on your phone”
If you ask people 25 years old and up about TikTok, many would say it’s the latest iteration of the dumbing down of society.
If you ask those under 25, they’ll say it’s social media that isn’t “boring” like Facebook – which is now officially deemed “for old people.”
Active users of the app often defend its analytics and say they quite enjoy their highly tailored feeds. They are aware that algorithms are gathering tons of data about them in order to make those feeds so highly tailored, but they don’t seem to care, or perhaps have succumbed to the convenience.