– The U.S. government has concerns about TikTok being a threat to national security due to the data it collects from users and its Chinese parent company ByteDance potentially funneling that information to the Chinese government
– TikTok accounts for an increasingly lucrative slice of the content creator economy and banning the app could have negative impacts on small businesses and influencers who rely on it to build their audience and income
– There is bipartisan opposition to a ban on TikTok, with some lawmakers arguing that it is an important platform for engaging with younger voters, but concerns about national security continue to be debated.
TikTok, the app that has taken the world of social media by storm, is now under fire from US lawmakers, who are alleging that the Chinese-owned app is a threat to national security. The worry stems from concerns about the data TikTok collects from users and whether its parent company, ByteDance, might funnel that information to the Chinese government for nefarious purposes. While TikTok executives have denied that this is happening or is likely to happen, talk of banning the app is all the rage in Washington, with politicians from both sides of the aisle expressing concern.
However, officials can’t just get rid of TikTok and its millions of users overnight without causing uproar. The platform accounts for a lucrative slice of the content creator economy and provides small businesses across America with an essential outlet to build customer bases and grow their businesses. TikTok-fueled celebrities may have joined and surpassed the ranks of stars who found their fame through traditional means, but those bold-faced names make up a relatively small portion of the app’s users.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has adamantly denied that TikTok or ByteDance is a tool of the Chinese government. He testified before the House committee for more than five hours, highlighting the company’s commitment to transparency and announcing their collaboration with Austin-based tech firm Oracle. However, tensions continue to rise between the US and Chinese governments, and TikTok has entered the crosshairs of the uncharacteristically bipartisan conversation.
Despite the opposition to TikTok, some lawmakers have spoken out against a ban. TikTok has over 150 million Americans on it, and banning an entire social media company from existence would be unprecedented in the US. The heart of the issue is “two generations colliding.” While TikTok hosts a wide range of ages, it’s primarily considered a Gen Z app, and that group hasn’t yet made an inroad with most of the “millennial crowd and older” having this debate in Washington.