The TikTok Controversy

Should there be a TikTok ban?


Soha Shah

What is all the buzz about an app downloaded by over a billion people? There has been a lot of speculation around TikTok. To the people who don’t know, TikTok is an app that allows anyone to share their talent from the beginning and grow a fan base.

Since the talk of a possible ban began in July, there have been mixed reviews since the federal government officials have said the Chinese-owned app presents a security risk to American users. The Chinese government has prevented its citizens from using international apps like Facebook, Twitter, and other communication services for years. Citing national security concerns, the US  has also sought to stop American citizens from using Chinese owned apps. US officials have said TikTok poses a threat because it collects data on Americans. TikTok allegedly collects more data than Instagram, Twitter, and even Facebook.

Politics aside, the minimum age limit to join TikTok is 13 or older to comment or post. TikTok uses algorithms that generate videos like any other social media site which means once someone clicks on something it’ll keep on suggesting similar videos. 

TikTok is widely popular in multiple nations which means a person from any nation can post videos. Every country has different regulations for child safety and given that, kids can be exposed to unsafe content like rude behavior, swearing, and adult content. NBC News has said, “TikTok has a children’s version which does not let kids upload videos or comment on any other videos. This clearly indicates the creators of TikTok knew the risks kids would be exposed to and thus, they have this feature in the application. Statistics have suggested 41% of users of the application are between 16 to 24 years old. So naturally, the content they post is suitable for their age.”  

Another option to safely access the app is to have a private account. By default, all accounts are public but you can always change it to private mode. On a private account, you can also turn on “restricted mode” to filter out inappropriate content on the application. Users can approve or reject followers and limit messages to followers only. And with that, you can also manage who can comment, duet, or send you direct messages on the application. TikTok has been a great platform for many to show their creativity and talent and for many to acquire new skills from learning through those videos.

TikTok has been a very controversial app for many countries. CNBC stated, “TikTok is under investigation in the UK over children’s data privacy rights.” Other countries like India and Pakistan have banned TikTok already while Japan is also thinking about imposing a ban. Indonesia enacted a temporary ban on the platform as well. 

Overall there are many mixed opinions about the app itself. According to Mrs. Molina, school counselor, “The ban should not take place because people should have a choice whether they want to open themselves up to the world.” Julia Szosda, a sixth-grade student, said “ They shouldn’t ban TikTok because Tiktok takes away your stress. It is also fun and enjoyable to watch TikToks or make them.”