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Number of countries are trying to ban TikTok as concerns for user safety arise

2023.05.07 17:18:41 Na-Ae Kim
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[Photo Credit to Pixabay]

In less than a month, more than five different countries officially stated their ban against TikTok as shocking evidence and testimonies followed, such as leaked audios of TikTok meetings showing China repeatedly accessed American user data.

In the announcement on Feb.27, the government showed its strong will to delete TikTok from government devices.

This declaration is not just the U.S. committing to enforce in such an aggressive way - New Zealand, Britain, Canada, the executives of the European Union, and more countries are joining against TikTok being used in government devices.

On April 4, Australia joined in deleting TikTok from government devices, allowing the public to see how TikTok disturbs governments worldwide.

As of March 1, America took another giant step, working to advance the law into the ban of TikTok.

On March 23, a lengthy testimony of about 5 hours was spoken by Shou Chew, the chief executive of Tiktok.

Many questions were asked about TikTok’s relationship with its parent company ByteDance and the potential threat of the Chinese government accessing the data.

Shou Chew defended, saying, “We hear general unrelated fears, analogies, associations that don’t make sense.”

Shou Chew also added about the trust deficit lawmakers have against any Chinese-connected companies. 

Though Shou Chew is trying to stop the ban on TikTok, the government is showing a firm stance with their view of TikTok - Especially after TikTok announced there are ‘150 million users in America’.

One hundred fifty million users in the U.S. is about half of the U.S. population, meaning America would have serious damage if the user information were leaked.

In 2020, the U.S. government attempted to buy TikTok from Bytedance to erase potential access from the Chinese government.

However, this did not happen, and the Chinese government took a more protective state, saying they would oppose any sale of TikTok.

The Chinese government's protective actions against the sale of TikTok intensified many  governments’ defense of TikTok, leading to the recent bans worldwide.

The enforcement against TikTok may look like a sudden happening - however, this goes back to 2020, when the first major ban happened, causing TikTok to lose 150 million public users.

The loss happened when India fully banned TikTok in government and public usage.

The shocking action banning millions of Indian TikTok users was to oppose the Chinese government taking sensitive user data, which is still being issued now.

A current employee in TikTok stated, “I don’t think [Indians are] aware of how much of their data is exposed to China right now, even with the ban in place,” 

Moreover, Former NSA general counsel Glenn Gerstell said, “We can’t ban them from the data they already have.” increasing the concerns over TikTok’s access to user information.

As India still struggles to keep user information, a new question arises:Should public users get restricted?

Based on the recent actions of restriction by the Biden administration, the public predicts that lawmakers will try to regulate the usage of TikTok.

On the contrary, some of the younger public think differently, stating that targeting TikTok alone is hypocritical.

Some students state that sharing  personal information has become a general thing in society - done by many other apps, not only TikTok.

Taking the example of Facebook and Instagram, students say targeting TikTok instead of other privacy concerns in American apps is an act of hypocrisy, intending to take the attention away from the ‘real’ problems.

Although the ban on TikTok has become a global trend, it will be hard to determine whether a complete general prohibition will happen in America - with different opinions arising in this democratic country.

Na-Ae Kim / Grade 9 Session 1
California Connections Academy