In an era when short-video apps are the hottest commodity, TikTok rocks the chart beat on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The platform had its fair share of problems along the way but it continues to be as popular as ever.
However, not everyone is impressed, including the CEO and co-founder of Reddit Steve Huffman. Huffman dedicated some harsh words to the short video app, calling it "fundamentally parasitic" in front of a large group of Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs who had gathered for a one-day conference called "Social 2030".
The comments about TikTok came up during a panel discussion with former public policy executive Elliot Schrage and former Facebook VP of Product Sam Lessin. During the discussion, when the feature innovations of TikTok were mentioned, Huffman rejected the notion that Silicon Valley startups had something to learn from the app. He also came down heavily on the privacy and security features of the app and defined the app as spyware.
What did Reddit CEO say about 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 [TikTok] as so fundamentally parasitic, that it's always listening," Huffman said. "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.
The 'Social 2030' was organised by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lessin's VC firm Slow Ventures. The event aimed to highlight and identify trends in social apps and it was almost impossible not to bring up TikTok at the discussion.
Last year, the platform achieved the milestone of 1.5 billion combined downloads on the App Store and Play Store, as per a report by Sensor Tower. It's popularity forced Instagram to roll out a similar feature Instagram Reels and Google also came out with a similar short video app called Tangi.
During the discussion, while Lessin asserted that TikTok made a number of notable innovations, Huffman offered deep criticism of the app and asserted that the app tracks the actions of its users.