- One of the main arguments for keeping TikTok legal is the platform’s popularity. With over 1 billion active users, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Many people enjoy using TikTok to create and share short videos, and the platform has helped to launch the careers of numerous social media influencers and content creators. This seems more an inconvenience than an argument.
- Another argument for keeping TikTok legal is the potential benefits it can provide. For example, TikTok has been used to raise awareness about important social issues such as mental health and environmental sustainability. TikTok has also been used as a platform for education, with users creating and sharing informative videos on a wide range of topics. I make better eggs benedict, for example.
- Furthermore, many people argue that banning TikTok could set a dangerous precedent for other social media platforms. If the government can ban TikTok based on national security concerns, what’s to stop them from banning other platforms like Twitter or Facebook in the future? I doubt that, as this is a US v China issue.
- National Security Concerns: The primary concern cited by those who advocate for banning TikTok is that the app is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance. Some US politicians and security experts fear that the Chinese government could use the app to collect data on US citizens, potentially compromising national security. Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon probably concur…
- Data Collection: There are also concerns about the amount of data that TikTok collects on its users. This includes information about their location, device information, and browsing history. Some people worry that this data could be used for nefarious purposes or sold to third parties without the user’s consent. Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon do this but… they’re American.
- Misinformation: There have been several instances of misinformation and propaganda being spread on TikTok. This includes conspiracy theories, fake news, and political propaganda. Some worry that this type of content could influence US elections or sow discord among the population. But TikTok does not have an exclusive on this.
- Underage Users: TikTok is hugely popular among younger users, many of whom are under the age of 18. There have been concerns about the safety of these users, particularly in terms of online predators or inappropriate content. Some critics argue that TikTok’s algorithms and content moderation policies are not robust enough to protect these vulnerable users. I call it a race to the bottom, TikTok is an accelerant.
- Copycat Behaviors: Finally, there have been concerns about the “copycat” behavior that TikTok can inspire. This includes challenges that encourage dangerous or illegal behavior, as well as the spread of potentially harmful trends or fads.
At this point, the threat of a ban is almost as ban as a ban itself. I think this will be a foreign policy topic in the next National Election cycle, and I think it will be hobbled if not gutted by then.