TikTok users are now frightened and confused as to why the viral video app is supposedly demanding they input their iPhone password to view content.
Even more concerning, experts say the reasons why TikTok — which had reportedly been caught red-handed spying on journalists in the past — remains unclear.
“TikTok itself doesn’t explicitly state the exact cause,” according to an article from industry expert publication Dataconomy.
The highly worrisome issue was reportedly first observed in late November and saw several more users sound the alarm throughout December, according to Dexerto.
It was also around this timeframe that Apple released two urgent security updates for iPhone and other product users.
The more recent iOS update, which rolled out on December 11, patched a bug that allowed access to sensitive user data.
The Post has reached out to TikTok for comment.
Dataconomy lists four potential causes as to why TikTok is insisting on this personal security data — and none of them are very reassuring.
The site says the passcode might have been a “temporary security measure requiring passcode entry to address certain vulnerabilities or privacy concerns.” It may also be tied to an app update, glitch or enabling the content filter known as “restricted mode.”
“Restricted mode” might ask for a password as a censor for content, per Dataconomy.
How to work around TikTok asking for your iPhone password
Experts warn it’s almost always a bad idea, especially under these circumstances, to share your password due to glaring security risks and easy exposure to phishing attempts.
However, in this case, it appears some have found suitable workarounds.
TikTok users prompted to give their passwords said on a Reddit thread that the issue ceased once they updated to their app to version 32.5.0.
There appears to be another quick way to avoid this, too.
“Some users have reported bypassing the passcode prompt by selecting ‘cancel,’ indicating that this might indeed be a bug rather than an intentional feature,” according to Dataconomy.
It was also noted shutting down restricted mode might work as well.
This disturbing news comes shortly after democrat Sen. John Fetterman blamed TikTok for why many young people have a “warped” perspective over the current Israel and Gaza conflict. Last September, European regulators fined TikTok $368M over its failure to protect the privacy of children.
“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”