Lawmakers’ TikTok Paranoia

Photo of dragon’s breath ice cream courtesy of Stilfehler

Sarah Yeoh || Valor Media

TikTok is popular among a variety of people of different ages, but the US government has had its suspicions for a while. Since TikTok has been introduced to us in 2016, it has grown to have 1 billion users in over 150 countries. TikTok is a platform used for a variety of things, from wellness, fashion, and informative advice to dance challenges.

However, like every other social media platform there is known content that is suggested to be avoided, their outlandish challenges. Challenges like the socket challenge, the sleepy chicken challenge, the blackout challenge, and the dragon breath challenge. Dragon breath, which is relatively new, is a cereal dipped in ice found in Indonesia. This does not seem dangerous, but just six days ago, 20 children were harmed with burns and food poisoning.

Now, what is rattling the lawmakers of the United States of America? Challenges participated by young impressionable people. No, these challenges prompting death don’t matter much to them.

Instead, they are afraid of Tik Tok for a more political reason. Tiktok is owned by a Chinese Company named, Douyin. In China, everything is in possession of the China Communist Party, which wants its people to believe in their lies. Unfortunately, this fear has led them to consider banning Tik Tok, which presumingly wouldn’t have much success as in the government.

The app is known to track users’ information. It tracks likes, dislikes, email addresses, wifi networks, contacts, and worse personal information. Yet all social media, collect necessary data from users, in order to give them content that fits their personality, and their needs and wants.

In a CBS article, John Carlin, the former Justice Department’s National Security Division said that “It’s not just the collection or theft of that data. It’s also manipulating what it is that you see. And the question is for the national security professionals, do we want China determining what it is that we see here in America?”

He clearly explains that the concerns of the US government derive from the fact that the China Communist Party is in the authority over everything. This ranges from propaganda to cyber. Obviously, CCP is notorious for over-controlling its citizens’ devices and giving them the false image that they are in an ideal country. The US government believes that China can use this app to make users believe the wrong things.

The US government may fear Tik Tok, but many users believe that TikTok is also used for uniting the community, considering small business owners use the app to promote their products in a simple, creative way. Ultimately, there’s a predicament between people.

To find out what people thought of the issue, we interviewed the age group that is usually found scrolling through Tik Tok on their phones, high school students, at Valor.

Kayla Mahlmann, a freshman commented, “In a way, I say yes, because there are people in need of protection, and it is not good for the Chinese Government to have some people’s info. However, most aren’t affected by the Chinese if they get ahold of their information.”

Marlee Jerome, a sophomore said, “Well, in my opinion, it’s always a chance that someone’s info could be stolen. On its own, Tiktok already markets, and advertises products, but the government could use it to control sites and create propaganda?”

Tiktok, in all, is causing issues, which everyone needs to be on the lookout for. This does not mean TikTok needs to be banned, we just need to be more cautious of what we watch and post.