Students react to possible TikTok ban


On March 2, the Foreign Affairs Committee gave President Biden permission to ban the social media platform TikTok from government-used devices, according to THQ. TikTok, launched in 2016 by the Chinese company Byte Dance, has 1.2 billion monthly active users on the app according to Business of Apps. The app’s CEO Sou Zi Chew went to court on March 24 to discuss the possible unsafe practices of the app and the potential banning for all US devices according to AXIOS.
The platform TikTok allows users to post up to 10-minute videos on the platform or save them to a private folder. In a student poll, over 70% of students don’t believe there is spyware being used on the app.
“In China, corporations and the federal government are a lot closer than in the US, and I believe that the Chinese government uses Chinese corporations to determine what Americans like to buy for further economic control,” senior Kevin Aguilar-Maldonado said. “The ordinary Joe won’t have to worry too much. But if I was the government, I’d be worried. If the majority of my populace was willingly downloading an app that gave all of their personal information to a foreign nation, I’d probably want to take a few steps to circumvent that.”
The app continues to grow, in 2020 the app reached 1.2 billion users, in 2022 the app increased users to 1.8 billion according to Business of Apps. Sixty-three percent of Newton High School students polled said they liked the app TikTok, with over 25% of students saying it would be heartbreaking to see the app getting banned.
“If TikTok got banned I’d probably be quite upset, I have many videos and memories on there and there’s lots of content on there,” junior Naomi Miller Garrett said. “I also just enjoy using it, so it being banned would stop me from being able to use it. I do not think they should ban it, I’m not super up-to-date with the whole thing but I don’t think me watching a silly video is useful to the Chinese government.”
The allegations of spyware, misinformation and sharing of user data being used have been going on since the presidency of Donald Trump. On Aug. 7, 2020, TikTok released a statement to their website on the matter of a possible ban with statements saying they have never shared user information with the Chinese government and they have never censored content due to their government. TikTok has been able to be transparent in sharing its algorithm source code.
“Honestly, when I first heard about this I assumed it was just xenophobic but after the spy balloon stuff I have no idea,” senior Ethan Otter said. “Realistically though if something like our nuclear codes gets leaked because of TikTok we probably deserve to be destroyed. I don’t really care [about the ban] because some US company will just replace it. There are already Instagram reels, YouTube Shorts and the Facebook one.”