Tik Tok listens for a purpose?

Nowadays, the world revolves around social media and the internet. This could have benefits and drawbacks at the same time, but that isn’t this story’s topic. Here we will talk about how social media may be listening and or watching you and others.  If not, Tik Tok is a social media app where people ,Tik Tokers, make videos like YouTube shorts or Instagram reels. Viewers either skip them or watch and like them.  

Tik Tok users (or should I say ex-users) have recently reported that they have been spied on by Tik Tok. A Reddit user who goes by “e-man0” states “I’ve had Tik Tok for over a year now but have had no suspicions until the past month or so. Numerous times I’ve watched a movie on another device or even just talked about something with a friend, then when I go on Tik Tok I see videos related to that subject( like the audio of a video or the actual video tags ). This has happened at least 5 times now, should I do anything?” 

I have had something like this happen to me recently as well. It was when a friend and I were conversing about how he gets so many Tik Toks about the gym and that I get none. I swipe a few videos up a little after the conversation and then, there it is, in front of my eyes. A gym Tik Tok, not just 1, but 3  consecutively. And I just thought “oh what a coincidence” but it happened again the next day. I was on the game, in a party chat with friends and we were talking about clash royale and how Miner(a card in the game)  is OP (it actually isn’t, it’s just a joke). Then here I am on Tik Tok, a little after the conversation, and an OP miner cycle deck appears on my For you Page. Now I am starting to believe Tik Tok is just always listening to our conversation and our interests. 

But I understand that they need to gather data and promote and gain money, but they should at least warn us or let us know that they will be listening to us. Because I know they check our phone history and our interests which are in the policy and we have agreed to it. But they should let us know that they are listening due to marketing. And it’s not only just Tik Tok, but also Facebook and Instagram. All 3 of these apps are connected to the market and they each sell your information to each other to see what ads will convince you.  So this is just all one big community of apps selling information and listening to  your interests. 

Isaac Olguin – Lincoln Park High School – DMSF Class of 2026