TikTok’s Owner Pivots to Blockchain as App Security Flaws Grow

Updated by Kyle Baird

TikTok has been found to have serious security vulnerabilities that allow attackers to take control of accounts. The timing is prescient given the recent commitment to blockchain technology by ByteDance, the app’s owner, as a means to verify data.

TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, is actively exploring blockchain technology—and the recent security flaw found on its app may hasten its implementation and research.

Security Vulnerabilities Found on TikTok As Company Pivots to Blockchain

A few weeks ago, it was reported that ByteDance was working with Chinese State Media to implement blockchain and AI into its business model. The joint venture will be called Pengpai Audiovisual Technology Co. and is said to cost $1.43 million, according to Bloomberg. Its focus will be on security and on the “digital rights of short videos.”

Although the joint venture has been especially secretive, its focus on audiovisual content leads one to believe it will someday be implemented on TikTok if successful.

That transition couldn’t come sooner for TikTok, as the New York Times reports that the app has come under fire for its security flaws. Hackers have been able to hijack private accounts through malicious links and upload videos without the knowledge of individual users. According to Oded Vanunu, head of product vulnerability research at Isreal-based cybersecurity firm Check Point, “the vulnerabilities we found were all core to TikTok’s systems.” The security flaw was found to be so severe that a critical update had to be released today.


Authenticating Deepfake Content on Blockchain

However, aside from security flaws, there is another reason why TikTok is venturing into the blockchain space: as a means of verifying video content. With the recent rolling out of TikTok’s own deepfake capabilities to much criticism, some have claimed this was a step gone too far and that authenticity would be hard to decipher.

However, this seems to be part of the long-game for TikTok—with its new blockchain partnership specifically focused on ‘digital rights,’ we could someday see a blockchain-based verification system implemented on the app. This would mean that TikTok would be able to authenticate its users and offer deepfake capabilities, a first for the industry.

In short, the recent controversies surrounding TikTok make a strong case for the company’s pivot towards blockchain technology. We already know that ByteDance is already actively working on it, and the recent events just may hasten its implementation for security’s sake.


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