Reddit's CEO Explosively Describes TikTok as 'Parasitic' and 'Spyware'

The US government is scrutinizing TikTok's handling of user data closely, and many government agencies have banned their staff from using it because of its Chinese roots.

By Isobel Asher Hamilton

Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

The CEO of Reddit slammed TikTok, the short-form video app that has taken Generation Z by storm, at an event on Wednesday.

TikTok is the newest big challenge to big American social media companies like Facebook, and is owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance. Per TechCrunch, Huffman disputed whether Silicon Valley had anything it could learn from TikTok.

"Maybe I'm going to regret this, but 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."

"I actively tell people, 'Don't install that spyware on your phone,'" he added.

TikTok was not immediately available for comment on Huffman's remarks when contacted by Business Insider. In an October blog post, it said it stored US user data from TikTok in the US.

TikTok's handling of user data has come under close investigation from the US government, and multiple government agencies have banned staff from using the app on the grounds it could be feeding data back to the Chinese government.

A California student also filed a class-action lawsuit against the company late last year alleging that the app made an account for her without her permission and started hoovering up her data.

Steve Huffman was speaking at a panel discussion called "Social 2030" and shared the stage with former Facebook policy chief Elliot Schrage and former Facebook VP of product Sam Lessin.

Huffman is one of the few voices in Silicon Valley to condemn TikTok in such strong terms. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said last month that he believes TikTok could overtake Instagram because it is driven by users displaying their "talent" — like learning choreographed dances — rather than social posturing.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Management

Are Robots Coming to Replace Us? 4 Jobs Artificial Intelligence Can't Outcompete (Yet!)

Is artificial intelligence (AI) evolving to make our lives easier? I believe the answer is that it is a bit of both in the long run, but there is no need to panic for now.

Living

Invest in Yourself: 10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

When striving for success, it is easy to forget about your mental and physical health. But without health, you cannot fully succeed. Follow these ten lifestyle strategies for success in your personal and professional life.

Business News

A Jar of Sand From the Beach Where Tom Brady Retired Is Selling For Nearly $100,000

Brady's retirement announcement has many diehard fans wanting to memorialize the moment, and now, thanks to one eager eBay seller, they can have their shot.

Business News

Elon Musk Says He 'Saved' Twitter From Bankruptcy

The billionaire says the last few months were a "pain" he would not "wish on anyone."

Leadership

Are You a Trauma-Responsive Leader? Why Trauma-Informed Leaders Make a Happy and Healthy Workplace

By bringing more trauma awareness and building a culture of patience, compassion, forgiveness and empathy, we can create the understanding that leads to happier, healthier and more productive people and places of business.