The official student news site of WSHS

Terrier Times

The official student news site of WSHS

Terrier Times

The official student news site of WSHS

Terrier Times

Why are so Many Countries Trying to ban TikTok?

The ban on TikTok
Why are so Many Countries Trying to ban TikTok?

     Earlier in the year, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan law prohibiting TikTok on federal government phones. TikTok was launched seven years ago by the Chinese technology company, ByteDance. TikTok is a very popular social media platform across the country especially among teenagers. TikTok allows users to create, watch, like, and share videos that are usually around fifteen seconds long. TikTok creates a personalized feed for the user called a “for-you page” where you can watch personalized short videos with music and sound effects based on your recent searches. TikTok has been recognized for being an addictive app with high levels of entertainment and engagement. 

     In addition, the TikTok algorithm prioritizes a few key elements to keep users entertained and interested. These few elements include: engagement (likes, shares, saves, and comments). Therefore, the more engagement a video gets, the more the video will be displayed on the for-you page. User interactions can also influence the TikTok algorithm. The accounts that you watch and follow will create an algorithm for you, which helps keep users interested and involved in TikTok. 

     Despite TikTok’s addictive quality, many security concerns have risen in several countries. The main concern is the Chinese government. Lawmakers and regulators in the West have highly expressed their concern that ByteDance might make sensitive user data, such as location information, available to the Chinese government. Other concerns increasing the possibility of a ban against TikTok in the United States are potential laws that would allow the Chinese government to secretly demand data from Chinese companies and citizens. These laws could be used for “intelligence-gathering operations”, as well as the Chinese government using TikTok’s content recommendations for the spread of misinformation. 

     Furthermore, some states have already begun to take action. In August, New York banned Tik Tok from “city-owned devices”. According to a City Hall spokesman, New York’s cyber command decided that the app posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks. In addition, Indiana sued TikTok last December. Indiana accused the app of, “violating state consumer protection laws” and, “exposing children to mature content”. TikTok has even been banned for three years on U.S. government devices used by the military. However, these bans typically don’t extend to personal devices. 

     In short, the ban on TikTok throughout the United States is now a real possibility. Some Congress members would like to ban TikTok. In order for this to happen, the House of Foreign Affairs Committee would have to approve a bill to grant a president the ability to ban the platform. This ban by a president would extend to personal devices, and the app would no longer update or be usable. Lastly, due to the significant amount of security concerns, a ban against TikTok, or a push from lawmakers to force ByteDance to sell this platform to an American company is still relevant and very possible. 

 

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