Temu, a Chinese shopping app that recently whizzed past Instagram, WhatsApp, and Shein in the App Store’s top downloads, has raised security, privacy, and national-security concerns because of its low prices. The app’s parent company, PDD Holdings, has a history of disregarding data protection laws to cheat competitors and harvest users’ personal information for profit.
Nevertheless, there are reasonable explanations for the platform’s low prices and discounts and, provided users take standard account security precautions, Temu operates as a legitimate ecommerce marketplace overall. The app’s security measures include robust app-level security and generous customer service policies. It also offers PCI-certified payment links to make it a safe place for consumers to shop online.
The app also collects a lot of user data, including Wi-Fi network info, Bluetooth, photos and videos, contact details, and more. Some of this data is manually inputted by users, but the vast majority of it comes from the app analyzing your device’s behavior. This includes monitoring other apps, reading notifications and messages, tracking your location, and changing settings.
While the app’s high levels of collection have raised concerns, it’s worth pointing out that US citizens’ personal data is not protected by any single law and can be collected without your knowledge or consent. This means that apps like Temu, Walmart, and Amazon can access your credit history, read your messages, or record your voice to improve their services. However, you can limit the amount of data these apps can access by staying skeptical of unbelievable claims, avoiding sketchy affiliate marketing tactics, and using a VPN when using the app.