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TikTok’s in-app browser can track every tap you make

Be careful what you type when using TikTok’s in-app browser.

tiktok logo with blurred smartphone in the background
Image: KnowTechie

When you tap on an external link from the TikTok app, it opens websites in its own, in-app web browser. As it turns out, TikTok’s in-app browser is capable of tracking everything you do while you’re using it.

Last week, researcher Felix Krause shared findings on the in-app browsers for Meta’s Facebook and Instagram. Krause found that those in-app browsers can track tons of user data.

And today, Krause confirmed that TikTok injects a similar JavaScript into its own browser to track users. The app is capable of tracking every tap in its in-app browser, including when you type in passwords or credit card information.

tiktok in-app browser code
Image: Felix Krause

However, Krause also confirms that “just because an app injects JavaScript into external websites, doesn’t mean the app is doing anything malicious.”

A TikTok spokesperson recently spoke with Forbes and confirmed that the company only uses this code for debugging, troubleshooting, and performance monitoring.

“Like other platforms, we use an in-app browser to provide an optimal user experience,”reads the spokesperson’s statement. “But the Javascript code in question is used only for debugging, troubleshooting, and performance monitoring of that experience.”

One way to avoid this criticism, suggests Krause, is to provide users with an option to open links in their browser of choice. Many apps already do that, allowing users to navigate to links without using a specific browser.

READ MORE: New TikTok hack reportedly exposes source code and user data

But that’s not available on TikTok. TikTok doesn’t give you the option to switch to your default browser. So you’ll have to manually open that page in your Safari or Chrome browser to avoid the in-app browser.

While TikTok says it’s being responsible with this kind of power, it’s still pretty sketchy that it has the ability to track you this much.

As a precaution going forward, try not to give out too much personal information through in-app web browsers. Just know that anything you type in these browsers can be tracked by the app.

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