A Guide for Using TikTok and Temu

john o'connellAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

In an era where digital convenience intersects with unparalleled risks, financial advisors and wealth managers are tasked with safeguarding more than just clients’ assets; the protection of personal and client data stands paramount. Amidst this backdrop, two applications, TikTok and Temu, are subjects of increasing concern over privacy practices.

The privacy conundrum of TikTok and Temu

TikTok: Beyond entertainment

TikTok, a powerhouse of viral content, has raised eyebrows not just for its addictive algorithms but for its voracious appetite for user data. The platform's data collection practices extend beyond the conventional bounds, encompassing a range of information from device identifiers and location data to browsing and search histories. It can collect information from your device when not using the application, such as keystroke patterns, faceprints, and voiceprints. This extensive data harvest carries implications beyond mere privacy invasion; it poses a palpable threat to data security.

Temu: A new challenger

Temu is an ecommerce application which is owned by the Chinese online retailer PDD Holdings. The application has successfully replicated the meteoric growth of its sister application Pinduoduo. Pinduoduo grew very rapidly in overseas markets through effective marketing campaigns, gamification features, and personalized purchase recommendations to make shopping on mobile platforms more fun.

The popularity of ecommerce platform Temu has been surging since its debut in the fall of 2022. The application surpassed 100 million active users in the United States in April 2023 and had 250 million worldwide cumulative downloads in November 2023 with 53%of active users in the United States. The application had a successful Superbowl commercial that resulted in over 29.6 million downloads worldwide in February.

The application’s convenience and diverse marketplace offerings are overshadowed by its aggressive data harvesting tactics, mirroring concerns parallel to those of TikTok.