As an Information Controls Fellow, Pellaeon conducted a security, privacy and censorship audit of TikTok, a short-video sharing social media app popular among young internet users.

ByteDance, a China-based technology company develops TikTok, a video-based social media platform which is the first Chinese-made social media platform that reached global popularity, crossing 2 billion accumulated downloads in April 2020. The app started in China under the name Douyin, and was released as TikTok tailored for the international market. Despite TikTok’s popularity and prominent public discussions surrounding its security and privacy, neither TikTok nor Douyin have been thoroughly studied. As an Information Controls Fellow, Pellaeon Lin worked with Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto to carry out research on the technical characteristics of TikTok and Douyin through analysis of the source codes of TikTok and Douyin’s Android apps. The full report was released in March 2021 and can be found on Citizen Lab’s website, along with a FAQ.