Pala: Why TikTok is really at risk of being banned in the U.S.

A student sits in the art gallery building lounge on TikTok - Copy Editor / Sylent Michaels

Just a few weeks ago, the world watched TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew testify in front of a hostile courtroom about Chinese supervision on his app. In American society, there are very few causes that have achieved bipartisanship between the two major political parties, but for some odd reason the one thing the House of Representatives has agreed on is the banning of TikTok in the nation.

Many may be wondering why the government has issues with TikTok, and why it has been deemed as dangerous. As presented, issues with the app lie in the fact that its ownership is in the hands of China — a world power that does not see eye to eye with America.

Being that the app is Chinese and succeeding in America, the government has become very concerned about data breaches on the general American population, as well as what China may do with the information they obtain from its America users. Above all, the conflict does come down to a very common fight between the United States of America and China, the battle between democracy and communism.

While I am not the most well versed pundit on the global battle between democracy and communism, I do happen to be an American citizen that has felt the effects of excessive data being shared. Being raised in the generation that was fostered into a love for social media has been a telling journey, as I have come to realize how much user data is shared, and how little we know about where it goes. In doing some research into how much information about us is offered and shared, I have come to realize that way too many of us have signed our data away without even knowing. American founded companies like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been selling our data elsewhere for years and there was never an ounce of concern shed for the general population, so why is there a deep concern now?

On the contrary, China’s government has notably placed internet censorship in place that does not allow them to use American-founded platforms like Instagram, Google, YouTube and Facebook among others. This does make sense for the urgency to ban TikTok by the American government, but it does feel a bit late. As it stands, TikTok has over 150 million American users and counting — who have all given up excessive data — making the fight to ban the app seem to be obsolete. 

In the few years since the introduction of TikTok into mainstream media, I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan, but its effect has been felt in a grandiose fashion. I’ve watched many of my peers grow into personal advertising agencies, inking brand deals and turning profit as influencers that play into the apps ecosystem. So, I understand the fight from people to keep the app running in the country, while also understanding the app is a machine that takes from each user.

In order to not ban the app from American soil, there has been a few pitches on how amends could be made between the United States and TikTok, all of which involve the company falling under American ownership. Shou Zi Chew even offered up a plan that would see Oracle taking ownership of the company and bringing it to American soil, but even with that he would keep 20% of the business as a Chinese citizen.

Following the odd conflict between the app and the nation, I have concluded that the concern for data breaches against American citizens is merely a ploy that masks the real issue. While I am in favor of the protection of my data I know it isn’t really valued, and America’s real opposition is communism, not TikTok.

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