My TikTok – My Observations

Well apart from the fact that my 10 year old daughter has been an avid user of TikTok for 2 years, my interest would be nonetheless sparked by the torrent of privacy issues which have been popping up left, right and centre. I thought it could be good to give you an idea of what TikTok actually is if you haven’t tried it (yet), and what it means to kids, because I’ve actually spent some time there.

To summarise on the list of issues I see:

  • TikTok is a Chinese business and hence privacy is not something they feel strongly about so I just don’t trust them -I guess this is a British understatement 😉
  • They are not following any of the GDPR principles, e.g. data minimisation on content created by EU data subjects, incl. minors.
  • Privacy is not built in the design of the App -you only need to Google to find what I mean here.
  • Kids are be stalked by sexual predators, there are no ‘safe gardens’ for kids.
  • Kids are being cyber-bullied -aggressively, and not only by peers but by older users, the Trolls.

Nonetheless, TikTok is in fact fun! I created an account 2 years ago to try and understand why kids were here. All good material for my next book! As a success, one TikTok Post (below) I made together with the help of my daughter got of 67,8k Views, 3 630 Likes and circa 100 Comments. So had had something perfect to use for my analysis.

Fun observations:

  • It’s addictive, and getting involved as a parent has removed barriers we had concerning the use of TikTok or other social media Apps.
  • The inbuilt templates provides kids with opportunities to test their creative abilities beyond what I ever thought was possible. Working with my daughter to create this and other TikToks has given me an insight of what the world could look like when they are entering the workplace!
  • Watching kids collaborate on TikTok and other social Apps is mind-blowing beyond what we ever did ourselves as kids. We have a generation of kids growing up socially connected/collaborating -these kids won’t understand why our generation had to learn how to work as a team.
  • I was amazed at how my daughter on seeing some rather nasty comments, just deleted them, and then how she advised me to ignore them.
  • Accounts setup -at least 2 years ago- were not on Only Friends as a default.

Worrying observations:

  • I saw kids being cyber-bullied on TikTok aggressively one poor girl who couldn’t have been older than 9 was being attacked as ugly… the Comments were damning. There was a ‘report abuse’ button which I used, but there was no follow-up.
  • The template we used was damned as racist “100% DNA, Swedish”. Although not raciest, they are triggers for Trolls.
  • Kids can be easily lured into creating ‘duets’ or more and I’ve seen kids kissing through a virtual wall to older teenage boys when singing together a love song. This makes online grooming very easy.
  • It is likely that many kids have multiple accounts for reasons such as they lost their password and can’t fix it, or they are harassed by cyberstalkers and need to move.

This is the TikTok I made together with my daughter which went viral a couple of years ago. Btw. Something going viral, doesn’t mean it’s good…. so you’ve been warned 🙂

Today I committed FaceBook suicide! – Part 2

2518864-8236474736-tombsA followup to my post of 21 May where I discussed not only the FB suicide, but how I did it. The question is: How am I coping since committing FB suicide? The question popped up when I had some time today to check my LinkedIn feed. It was Shared from Wired (I’m Quitting Social Media to Learn What I Actually Like).

So how am I coping? The answer is ‘very well, thank you’ 😉

I have some friends in my new anonymised FB profile. Although clearly I will never achieve anonymity so long as I have connections to friends. Nevertheless although I have few friends, my feed was filling up again….. panic! Not that I’m not interested in what my FB (and now only physical) friends are up too, it’s just I would prefer to choose when I check them out. You know when I have an hour to spare one evening, with a cup of my favourite tea, sitting in my favourite couch 🙂

So I unfollowed all my FB friends. It is a dream, I now have the advantages of FB without the intrusions on my life. No adverts, as I’ve clicked nothing outside of my direct FB friends, and no feeds, except those that really interest me, e.g. data protection commission. It is lovely, sometimes I am thinking, I wonder what so-and-so is up to nowadays? Then I take a look, but only if I have the luxury of time and I’m in the mood 😀

Today I committed FaceBook suicide!

2518864-8236474736-tombsI have been contemplating Facebook suicide for quite some time now, since 2014. This blog post gives a step-by-step description of how I did this (with links) in case you want to do the same. I hope you find this useful…

Reason for this action – were primarily motivated by the feeling that my concerns for privacy started to outweigh the benefits. In addition the amount of junk popping up in my feed influenced by my click history was boring. I also felt that I had become a ‘passive consumer’ of social media, just as my generation were the first real ‘passive consumers’ of television. I wanted to stop this ‘addiction’ which is what it is… checking your feed for updates, checking if your posts got some Likes and Comments…. when I could be reading a book, or spending time with my family doing normal things.


  • I still wanted to be connected to my family and very close friends;
  • I wanted to delete the years of ‘my user behaviours’ from my account that were behind the adverts popping up;
  • I wanted to be anonymous enough so that anyone that searched for my name, would not know who I was through my connections, even if they shared something that I shared;
  • I did not want any personal photos that my FB friends would feel compelled to Like, and then I would be compelled to check my feeds for Likes 😉
  • I didn’t want to be drawn to restart my behaviour as a ‘passive consumer’ of social media content;
  • Given what I wanted, I knew that it is quite impossible to be anonymous from government intelligent agencies, they would keep my old FB content for at least 10 years, however I needed a compromise for today and the future;
  • I wanted FB, but I wanted a clean start.

Here is what I did:

  1. I set-up a new clean account and added my active FB account as a friend. I gave an age under 18, false name, an email not linked to my old account, and no additional information. The fact that I created an account as under 18 years, means some of the privacy settings are stricter by default.
  2. I warned my FB friends that I would be deleting my account – in January – and gave them the choice of connecting to my new account. When I deleted my active account I had 20 FB friends on the new clean account.
  3. I did nothing for 3 months, and made no postings on the clean account and minimal on the active account. My FB friends that were also friends on the clean account started posting to both during this time.
  4. downloaded a copy of the FB account to be deleted. This includes all your posts, your photos, even your click history, just about eveything except your Instant Messages.
  5. I deleted my Instant Messages. This is not so easy as you need to go into each message individually and delete, and it takes several clicks for each. What I did was use Chrome and downloaded an extension that deletes all your messages in one or two attempts, it works and it is good 🙂
  6. However deleting your messages does not delete them from your friends message archive unfortunately. Your best bet is to ask them them delete anything linked to your old account. I didn’t work this one out until after I had deleted all my messages 🙁
  7. I removed my old account as a friend from my clean account.
  8. I deleted my FB account – Delete Facebook Account.
  9. I ‘unfollowed’ all friends feeds on clean account.
  10. Privacy Settings – I set ‘who can contact me’ to “Strict Filtering”
  11. Privacy Settings – ‘Do you want other search engines to link to your Timeline?’ = No
  12. Notifications – I basically turned them off except those pertaining to Security and Privacy.
  13. Apps, Websites and Plug-ins – Disabled
  14. Always Play Anonymously – On
  15. Apps others use – Unclick All
  16. Old versions of Facebook for mobile – Only Me
  17. Adverts – third-party sites = No one
  18. Adverts and friends = No one
  19. Adverts Based on Your Use of Websites or Apps Outside of Facebook – now this is a bit complicated, but you need to go into each of the Opt-out sites (there are 4) and choose Opt-out. You need to have cookies enabled to make this work. I did this in Chrome. Here you can see the sites that you are already opted-out of. It is dynamic, so when you opt-out it will update immediately.

Measuring influence

One of the tweets I received at @virtualshadows was from ‏@rushkoff an article on how to find the world’s most influential thinkers. I was intrigued by this because the subject of my MBA thesis was on finding the ‘influencers’ within an organization. They normally were not the managers, or those placed higher in the hierarchy. Often the most influential people in an organization have their span of influence grossly understated.

I’ve now uploaded all my publications to under The BUZZ/Karen’s Publications…I know original 😉 I will also load up my MBA thesis. As it was a whole year’s work, and seems a pity that (apart from for its evaluation/grading at Henley) I’ve been keeping it all to myself up until now.

TRUST is a currency

The PRISM exposure has presented non-US companies with a dilemma. The drive is into the cloud, but they don’t want their information outside of safe EU jurisdiction. According to Forbes it is estimated that the US will lose a lot of $USD as a result.

What needs to be clear here is that PRISM is about government nosing around in our social media activities without us being informed of this. Organizations could say that this is not a risk as they are not in the social media space (unless it is their core competence)… or is it?

What these undercover eavesdropping indicates is that the US government can’t be trusted. They have not been transparent in what they are doing. They are eavesdropping behind the backs of their own citizens. Even after Edward Snowden exposure they continued to deny. I see ‘trust’ as a world currency. Each one of us creates or destroys trust based on our personal/professional actions. This is especially pertinent now in this very connected world we live in today. Transparency is a foundation for trust, and governments that continue this facade of lying to its citizens, are at the cost of trust.. and eventually $USD will pay the price!

Whistleblowers & ‘transitional data’ the way forward?

Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch talks about how “Systematic Surveillance Will Eat Itself“. She talks about how there is some positives product from this surveillance epidemic. In main it is represented by:

1) whistleblowers, e.g. Edward Snowden; and,

2) the rise in ephemeral type technologies that place information online in a more transitional, temporary state than what is normal today.

My take is more the move towards a ‘transparent’ society, but I am now thinking that maybe this is either the compromise, end-point that we come to, or maybe a stopping house on-route to transparency. The reason why I really do not see a strong place at this ‘half-way house’ is because it is still assuming that governments are lying to its citizens and the rest of the world, and hence the need for whistleblowers (who pay a hefty personal price for their efforts) and hence the need for ephemeral type technologies for the citizen to cover their backs… not cool!

The Rise Of The Ephemeralnet

I came across this really interesting article in TechCrunch, on the changing face of privacy when viewed from the digital natives generation. Those that have grown up with technologies, no “wow” factor.

I have always taken the stance that the digital natives will not care about personal privacy. The fact that they have grown up in a society where we share just about everything, despite the many concerns on surveillance, and sharing too much over social media such as Facebook. My opinion has been that they will feel that the concerns of our (digital immigrants) generation on personal privacy are obsolete, and in the present context, as they (digital natives) see it, irrelevant. However this article gives an approach that they will rebel. Parents who have shared the personal information, pictures.. whatever online without the consent of their children. The view is that the digital natives will move towards anonymity and being private again.

Now I am thinking about this stance… and I will think more 😉
btw “ephemeral” in this context is “temporariness”, “transitional” and this has been connected with ‘net’. The idea is that the web and all its information will take a form of temporariness, transitional.