What does that mean? Well, if you’re cruising Instagram, let’s say you see a link to, say, a must-have solid gold ham sandwich sculpture. So you click on the link and you’re taken to the Solid Gold Ham Sandwich Emporium website, so you enter your credit card information and BAM! You are now the proud owner of a beautiful piece of art — and Instagram is now the proud owner of all that data. This is not entirely alarming, as many of us shop for more items that we would like to use with the same data. But most in-app browsers allow you to open a website in an alternate browser.
How TikTok’s In-App Browser Traps You And Your Data
The option to switch to a browser outside of the app is very useful. First, not every site converts well in a site’s browser. In addition, you may have downloaded a third-party app to work with your regular browsers to protect your precious data. But what happens if you can’t exit an in-app browser?
TikTok’s in-app browser does not allow you to reopen a link on the platform in your own browser. This means that any information you put into the app’s internal browser is owned by ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company. In the age of digital shopping, this can be alarming – after all, how many times have you entered your credit card number into a site you initially found on social media? Do you want that social media site to have your credit card information?
If you look at some of TikTok’s past data controversies, this method, which Forbes said is used to provide “an optimal user experience,” may look more nefarious than just credit card information. In the past, there have been allegations that TikTok is passing its data on to the Chinese government.
If this is a major concern to you, we don’t blame you. Fortunately, the researcher who initially provided all this data about TikTok and other social media in-app browsers has created a handy tool called InAppBrowser.com. The site will show you which codes are used by your app’s browser. It is Krause’s intent to make these website activities more transparent to regular users. And the more you know about your personal information, the more secure it will be.