TikTok announced two new integrations for its app on Thursday: sharing audio back into TikTok using the new Sound Kit, and using your TikTok account to log in to other apps with Login Kit. Developers can apply to use the new SDKs to insert the short-form video app’s content in even more places, but they may open the company and its users to new privacy concerns.
The basic features of Login Kit will sound familiar. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat already offer similar integrations to speed up the logging in process. Like those other versions, TikTok says that using Login Kit will allow users to securely log in to other apps, but also let developers offer TikTok content inside those apps, like adding videos to a dating profile. Using Login with TikTok also requires you to allow whatever app you’re using to view your public profile and videos in order to work but doesn’t currently extend to the other information TikTok may know about you.
Logging in with another social media account is convenient, but it comes with some baggage. Facebook in particular has been criticized for the data that gets collected with Facebook Login. It’s one of the sources of information at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. TikTok has also been scrutinized for its surveillance potential and a previous version of the app that accessed users’ clipboards. In regards to Login Kit, TikTok says:
Similar to other platforms’ SDKs, the only data TikTok can collect through Login Kit is the app’s name and associated events on our platform (i.e. event tracking for logins and authorizations).
One of the things that makes TikTok so compelling is all of the music it licenses for use in videos. With Sound Kit, that library of music could theoretically become even bigger, without TikTok having to strike new deals with the big music labels. Sound Kit allows developers to share audio between their apps and TikTok, so if you make a particularly great mix in one app, you can start using it in your videos. To enable audio sharing, developers will have to integrate Login Kit and the accompanying permissions into their apps as well.
Developers have to apply to use TikTok’s tools and SDKs and abide by the company’s guidelines, but it’s easy to imagine some potentially sketchy use cases for Sound Kit, like sharing audio without a creator’s permission or pirating music. TikTok says the sounds shared through Sound Kit are treated like any other kind of audio on the platform. Audio clips can either be private or publicly shareable, and TikTok says:
When a sound is shared to TikTok, we scan it for attribution to ensure it is original audio - if it’s identified as professionally generated content we label it as such in the music detail page
TikTok’s already incredibly popular just by being a social media app with great video tools, but SDKs like Login Kit and Sound Kit show the app is maturing. With the new SDKs, there’s an even greater possibility TikTok’s features could become as ubiquitous as embedding a Tweet or sharing your Facebook friends list.