Possible TikTok Ban Rears Its Ugly Head…Again
Edder Martinez, Staff Reporter
On Thursday, March 23, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in front of congress. There has been increased skepticism of TikTok, and the way they handle the privacy of their users. This has been of great concern to congress worried about foreign adversaries such as China where ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company is based.
Although this worry isn’t unwarranted as the United States is one of the few developed nations to not yet have a data security law protecting its citizens, congress has shown a clear double standard aimed at TikTok while ignoring other domestic corporations that steal your data. The committee in charge of the case for banning TikTok on multiple occasions has acted disrespectfully, and unprofessionally towards Chew. Many young citizens, primarily Gen Z, see this case as an example of why our older congress, who are not as up to date as the younger generation they represent, doesn’t care for them, and see this as an attempt to silence them. The case to ban TikTok has been greatly overdramatized and, in my opinion, this trial reveals the true issue which is the lack of data privacy our citizens have.
The users on the platform have brought attention to the unprofessional nature of the case. Videos of the members in congress speaking over, and not being able to understand how the platform even works. This committee has been aggressive, and unfair to Chew. I and many members of my generation have been concerned that these same congressmen get to decide whether we get a platform to speak out on or not.
Many users, and creators on the platform have spoken out about the TikTok ban. For many of the 150 Million US users TikTok is how they can have their voices heard and educate themselves. Opponents of the ban have spoken out about congress feeling that this ban and the bill proposed to ban it is a violation of their right to speech. Congressmen have cited the security concerns, but it seems most users are not convinced. The support to ban Tik Tok has been for the most part bipartisan although a few congressmen and women have shared the same concerns about this trial.
House representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out on TikTok having this to say, “However this does not address the core of the issue, which is the fact that major social media companies are allowed to collect troves of deeply personal data about you”, she then said, “ so to me the solution here is not to ban an individual company, but to protect Americans from this kind of egregious data harvesting.”
Many think a buyout of TikTok by a US-based company is a good solution, and this move is not unprecedented as the same outcome happened to Grindr which was previously owned by a Chinese company. I don’t think it resolves the original problem as most of Congress believes. As Mrs. Cortez said, we should look more into strengthening the nation’s data privacy laws and updating them according to international standards. These types of laws are important, and it does not matter where the company is based domestically or somewhere else US citizens deserve to not have their data harvested unknowingly.