Senators Ponder Nationwide Ban On TikTok

Twenty-seven states, North Carolina among them, have already banned the app on government devices over security concerns

Throughout the years social media has gotten more and more popular with certain social media apps becoming used more than others. One of the most well known of these apps is the Chinese owned app TikTok, which became available worldwide in 2018. 

The app now is available in 150 countries and has over a billion users. Despite TikTok’s growing popularity, controversy has grown over fears surrounding the app’s security. Because the app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, the government worries that user data will be visible by the company, thus being a national security risk. 

Twenty seven states, including North Carolina, have already banned the app from state owned devices. And a group of senators, among them Marco Rubio of Florida, have proposed nationwide bans of the app. This concerns students who enjoy using TikTok.

“I feel horrible about it. I do not think TikTok should be banned. I think TikTok is amazing,” sophomore Cooper Stern said. 

Other students worry about how they would spend their free time without use of the app. 

“I use TikTok daily, and I don’t know what I would do for entertainment without it,” senior Owen Williams said. 

Though students interviewed were given information about the risks, some still remain calm.

“It’s kinda crazy to know that everything you do on TikTok the Chinese government can see, but I still use it the same,” junior Alex Palmer said. 

Some students are more concerned than others.

“I feel that if it is for our safety and if is really necessary, then it is okay,” sophomore Hadleigh Dryden said, “I think that if it is actually a threat to our national security, then they should induce the ban.”

Although Tik Tok is extremely popular, some students have little attachment to it.

“Honestly, TikTok is more bad than good, even if there is good on the app. It’s quite the time waste, so I would not be opposed to getting it banned,” sophomore Jeremy Parrot said. 

Although some students don’t use TikTok, there is still worry surrounding what impact the ban would have on careers and personal growth.

“TikTok is a way that a lot of people connect and jumpstart careers and promote things, so I think it would stop the way we’re progressing towards social media and careers of that genre in its tracks,” senior Delaney White said. “People get a lot of opportunities that put them in the public eye because of TikTok and building a following on there.”

Students are also looking on the positive side of the ban when considering mental health.

“Honestly, I feel it would greatly improve most mental health of youth, and if it is a security threat, which I thought everybody knew it was as soon as they saw it, why not? It would definitely help. The way we deal with foreign relations is not exactly any different,” senior Jackson Freudig said. 

In a Dec. 15, 2022 article by Samantha Murphy Kelly on CNN Business, a study by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate shows that even when first getting TikTok the algorithm will recommend videos talking about suicide and eating disorders to users as young as 13.

Although banning Tik Tok may help the mental health of teens, some still worry how certain students will react in the case of a ban.

“I think it is gonna be a repeat of vine, all these kids will not know what to do with themselves and will lock themselves in the house,” senior Jackson Briley said.

Other students are worried about how the ban will affect First Amendment rights.

“In a way, it’s kinda limiting freedom of speech because people use that to express themselves and spread awareness for different things. I don’t think that’s the right move for this,” junior Nehamiah Powell said.

Students who don’t have the popular app still worry about the ethics of a ban on TikTok.

“Even as an individual who doesn’t have TikTok, I wholeheartedly believe that the government is overstepping its boundaries by trying to put a nation-wide ban on TikTok,”sophomore Kiera Ellsworth said.