Americans are divided over banning TikTok – with many saying it infringes on their freedom of speech while others warn it is corrupting youth and being used as a tool of Chinese espionage.
Congress is currently debating the bill — which was introduced in December — that would pass to President Joe Biden if passed, who would have the final say if the app poses a threat to national security. If Biden decides to do so, TikTok will be removed from app markets and become unusable on smartphones where it is downloaded.
Gavin Diswho is a TikToker with over a million followers but did not disclose how much money he makes, told DailyMail.com: “The fight for TikTok is not fighting for an app. It’s fighting for the right to speak.”
He even fights for people I might not quite believe in the same way. I believe in your right to believe it and talk about it. And TikTok allows this in a way we’ve never seen before.
On the other side of the aisle, however, are those who would prefer to be banned — a CBS poll found that 61 percent of adults want to see the app go away.
Congress is debating a bill that could ban TikTok in the US as 150 million Americans use the Chinese-owned app.
Joe Gagliese of Viral Nation, a company that represents more than 200 TikTok influencers, told DailyMail.com that before TikTok, people relied on big media companies for news, events, and entertainment.
“They had all the eyeballs,” he said. “Social media has completely stripped it away.”
However, parents focus on the harm TikTok is doing to children.
Several lawsuits filed by parents against ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, allege that the app illegally collects data from minors in violation of children’s privacy laws.
On March 25, 2022, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois agreed to a $1.1 million settlement with ByteDance to resolve claims that TikTok collected children’s data without consent and sold it to third parties without parental consent.
Other parents claim that TikTok opens children’s door to predators.
told Kimberly Viola, a New Yorker WKBW that her 10-year-old daughter was exposed to sexually explicit material from a predator.
“What happens is that these predators, once they’re on your friends list, will be able to reveal themselves to you,” Viola explained.
So we had a predator who was able to groom my daughter and show my daughter harmful images, but also encourage her on a sexual platform.
TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and 150 million of them live in the US, awaiting the bill’s ruling.
Avoiding the national threat of internet censorship, repressive censorship, influence, and algorithmic learning under the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act would ban any social media company’s operations in or under the influence of China and Russia.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who introduced the bill in the Senate, said Chinese law means the owner of the app, ByteDance, is required to turn over data to the Chinese Communist Party.
This month, the Biden administration threatened to ban TikTok unless its Chinese owner sold its shares in the app.
And on March 23, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by Congress for a grueling five hours over data security and malicious content.
Gavin Dees, a TikToker with over a million followers, told DailyMail.com: ‘Fighting for TikTok isn’t fighting for an app. It’s fighting for the right to speak’
Many parents prefer to block TikTok, claiming that the app is harmful to children. Neilah Anderson, 10, accidentally killed herself while trying to challenge TikTok
“I think, as far as Congress is concerned, the privacy issue is valid,” said Dease.
But my problem with the whole thing is, it somehow made me feel about it, because we suppose TikTok, or this company (ByteDance), behaves in a way that other platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, don’t.
Things have been proven (about Twitter and Facebook) so now, the hypocrisy is that you don’t care about privacy.
“(Congress) cares about something deeper about this platform, although you might be talking here about privacy and data, all these different things, like there are other platforms that have been doing this for years.”
Dees also said that although TikTok is listed as a kids’ app, at least 60 percent of its followers are over 34 years old.
Why do governments ban TikTok?
The primary concerns of most countries are security, privacy, and China.
Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, many governments around the world have concerns about whether the app can collect user data and whether it is independent of Beijing.
Governments and regulators fear that user data could be made available to the Chinese government and used for intelligence gathering.
In recent years, Chinese laws have required companies to turn over data to the government if requested, which has added to the concern.
Many fear that data such as browsing history or personal user information such as location information may fall into the hands of the Chinese government and be used to promote propaganda and disinformation.
“There’s a real systemic problem with young people socially and what that means (for parents),” Gaglis told DailyMail.com.
There are dangers to young people on social media, and they cannot be ignored, and I think parents have every right to be upset with social media.
I don’t think it’s an isolated issue with TikTok. I think it’s social media in general.
Chad Epps He is a popular social media star who is best known for his TikTok account, which has earned over seven million followers.
He also relies on TikTok for a living.
It’s downright surreal. It’s something I never imagined would happen. I’m not saying it will happen but it could happen, and it definitely scares me,” Epps told DailyMail.com.
TikTok is the platform with the most followers. It’s the platform I spent the most hours researching regarding the algorithm and how to build a community.
Other people on TikTok have spent many hours growing their audience and are afraid of being pushed away. But I’m always hopeful because it’s not the platform that I fell in love with, it’s the content creation.
On the other hand, parents do not share the same opinions.
said Sera Adair, a mother of two young daughters from Georgia CNN She started using TikTok to educate the public about digital dangers.
These include what minors should do when contacted by strangers and exposed to harmful content.
“Minor people started tagging me in posts or sharing things they might come across that made them scared,” Adair, who now has 350,000 followers on TikTok, told CNN Business. They’d say, ‘Hey, I came across this. What do I do? Can you do something?’
She said a young follower shared how minors and adults could post particularly explicit videos to their accounts in the “Only Me” feed, where anyone with a combined password could access them.
TikTok and other social media like Facebook and Instagram are under fire for causing body dysmorphia among teens, especially girls.
Leaked research obtained by The Wall Street Journal and published in 2021 reveals that since at least 2019, Facebook has been warning that Instagram is harming young girls’ body image.
One message posted to an internal message board in March 2020 stated that the app revealed that 32 percent of girls said Instagram made them feel bad about their bodies if they actually had insecurities.
On March 23, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by Congress for a grueling five hours over data security and malicious content.
TikTok is flooded with diets and quick ways to lose weight.
said the little girls NBC These videos have caused them to focus more on their diets and exercise regimes to a dangerous extent.
Parents filed a lawsuit in California on February 14 against ByteDance, which alleges that the company knows minors encounter harmful content on the app.
The document claims that as of July 2020, TikTok had 95 percent of market penetration in mobile app users/smartphone users under the age of 17.
Rather than stop children from falling down these harmful rabbit holes or encountering harmful content, ByteDance has thrown up its hands, insisting that “(i)tikTok is not the place to decide for people what is “appropriate” for them or their teens. says the suit.
The document also describes TikTok challenges that have become successful among minors.
TikTok has taken the social media world by storm since its global launch in 2017, allowing users to share short streams of content that range from innocent dance routines to serious challenges.
The family of a 10-year-old girl who choked herself to death as part of a TikTok challenge sued the video platform in 2022 for negligence and “defective design”.
Neilah Anderson of Philadelphia was found unconscious in her mother’s bedroom closet on December 7.
She hung herself from her purse strap after watching videos related to the “Blackout Challenge” on the app’s “For You” page, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Pennsylvania.
TikTok said this was never a trend on its platform and that it “removes any contact promoting dangerous behaviors that could cause harm.”
However, the California lawsuit claims that ByteDance is aware of the challenges and popularity among minors.
The lawsuit states that “ByteDance’s product research has found that the number one most specific reason teens participate in challenges is ‘(g) getting views/likes/comments,’ followed by ‘(i) lobbying others online.”
As internal ByteDance documents note, “Young people are more likely to copy a serious challenge than adults because their ability, developmentally speaking, to weigh risks and think beyond the immediate consequences of their actions is not yet fully formed.” “
The fate of TikTok is currently in limbo.
Congress, which is currently in a two-week recess, would need to pass legislation in both the House and Senate, which would then need to hit the desk of the president, who might declare it a violation of national security.
Lawmakers around the world have restricted access to TikTok to government-owned devices.
The US Congress, the Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard have all ordered officials to remove the app from their phones. Twenty-four countries have also banned the app on government agencies.
But all TikTok users across the US may be banned if the app is not sold to another company soon.