Students React To A Potential TikTok Ban

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TikTok, the Chinese-based social media app that has taken the world by storm, is now under fire in Washington D.C. due to potential security risks. With a staggering 1.7 billion users globally, TikTok’s popularity is undeniable. However, its user agreement policy, particularly the handling and storage of data, has drawn criticism. Lawmakers are concerned that sensitive American information is being collected at an alarming rate, potentially for misuse by the Chinese government for espionage purposes. TikTok’s data policy states, “TikTok may transmit your data to its servers or data centers outside of the United States for storage and/or processing.” Many fear the term “processing” could be a legal loophole for sharing user data with foreign intelligence.

The debate over TikTok’s data policies remains a long-standing issue, with lawmakers proposing stricter regulations and outright bans. During his presidency, Trump attempted to sign an executive order to ban the app, but two federal judges swiftly struck down the order in early 2020. Last week, bipartisan legislation was passed in the House of Representatives, giving TikTok an ultimatum: submit to a buyout from an American company or lose access to American app stores. As the bill makes its way to the Senate and eventually into law (if passed), many politicians, influencers, activists, and TikTok users have given their two cents on the proposition, some vehemently opposed and others staunchly in support. 

Teens are some of the most vocal advocates, as they make up the largest demographic of users, with 63% using the app. Sophomore Liliana Pellican said, “Although I am not on the app, I feel like the ban could be a good thing for the youth but a major issue for creators who make a living on the app.” 

Junior Ava Chansari said, “I think our generation’s main source of media exposure to music, news, education, music, art, and entertainment is on TikTok, so if it is banned there would be a major disconnect between teens our age.” Many other kids felt the same way, saying that TikTok is one of the largest platforms for information and connection, and is one of the most cherished resources that teens have access to. 

Sophomore Eesha Sinha said, “I’m really sad to hear that the app may go away. I have had the app since fourth grade, and have documented a lot of memories that I might lose.” 

However, other teens support the potential ban. One anonymous student said, “Honestly, I think the ban might be a good riddance, the app has caused a lot of trouble like the [devious lick] trend where people destroyed school bathrooms for TikTok.”

Senior Oliver Novak said, “I think [the ban] is a good thing. There is a lot of misinformation and wasted time spent mindlessly scrolling, so I think overall it is for the better.”

Another anonymous student said, “I feel like it should be banned; because I’m not on the app I feel like I’m missing out, so I get addicted trying to network elsewhere, and when I had TikTok I felt like I got stressed out about random stuff.”

Niklas is a sophomore at M-A. This is his first year in journalism. He hopes to write about local events and politics. In his free time, Niklas enjoys exercising and going to Coffeebar!

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