Tik-Tok: time may be running out on popular social media platform

Intense congressional hearing put Tik Toks social media platform in jeopardy.

Image used with permission from Wikipedia Commons

Intense congressional hearing put Tik Tok’s social media platform in jeopardy.

From comedic videos and dancing, to self help videos and comedy skits, Tik-Tok is a social media platform that serves a purpose in the daily lives of millions of Americans. This platform, which allows people to create, share, and discover short videos, has become tremendously popular with young people as a way to express themselves and share their ideas. Recently, TikTok has drawn bipartisan criticism for their Chinese ownership and the national security threats that accompany foreign access to American data.

While Tik-Tok brings joy and happiness to people all across the world, in America, frosty relations with the Chinese government, in addition to concerns about Chinese access to Americans privacy and data, has led to concern about whether the app could safely be used here in America.

A hearing was scheduled for Mar. 23 by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which allowed members of Congress to ask questions of Tik-Tok’s chief executive officers about ways Tik-Tok is working to help protect the safety, privacy and data of Americans who use the social media platform.

At the hearing, representatives from Tik-Tok testified and answered questions from the subcommittee about user safety on the app. They emphasized that the app is not influenced in any way by the Chinese government and that user data from the app is stored in a United States database. The Tik-Tok representatives also stressed that the app’s data policies are in line with the industry standards of other American-based social media platforms.

Junior John Wang who is a user of Tik-Tok and has his own account on the app feels that these concerns about user safety are overblown and the app is built to help support users viewing habits rather than hack into or steal their data. He said “the videos users see are based on preset interests and watch history not due to any relationship with a foreign government.”

However, senators continued to express concerns about this with Florida Senator Marco Rubio suggesting a total and complete ban on Tik-Tok for all people in the United States. His proposed ban would bar the use of both the app and website of Tik-Tok to be accessed by Americans. This suggestion comes in addition to bans that have already passed in other states like Montana and Maryland that prohibit any member of the state congress or state government from using the app, according to CNN. Other senators during the hearing pointed out that Tik-Tok collects user data including location, device information, and browsing history, as well as claiming the app censors information critical of the Chinese government. These concerns of the U.S. government have led to increasing fear amongst users of the platform that Tik-Tok might be banned from use by the government.

Junior Evan Geinser who has seen videos on the platform but has yet to create his own account said that he felt the entire hearing was a waste of time considering other key issues that have yet to be addressed. He said, “Considering issues in the economy and other social issues we as a country are facing, having a hearing on a social media platform is useless and a waste of everyone’s time.

While these concerns have merit, the congressional hearing on TikTok mostly was an opportunity for lawmakers to learn more about TikTok and its practices. It remains to be seen whether any new regulations or oversight will be put in place as a result of the hearing but at the