TikTok and Its Unlikely Defender


Showayane Wallace

TikTok is a social media platform made for making, sharing, and discovering short videos. The app is constantly updating and used by over 150 million U.S. residents, and even more people around the world. Long story short, TikTok is popular. It helps people connect, opens doors, and helps with the spread of information. Knowing this, it is also seen as a breeding ground for propaganda, racism, and hate. To make matters worse, critics in both political parties argue that the app poses a risk to national security and data privacy as it is controlled by the Chinese government. These facts shed a light on why the app has little to no allies on Capital Hill. However, that appears to be changing as Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, has spoken up in defense of the app.

When talking about Tiktok, Bowman told NBC, “This is a space where these creators have found a platform to share their ideas, their inspirations, their thoughts, their voices with the rest of the country and the rest of the world. And why do we want to take that away?” He has defended TikTok, denounced the ban, and said that he hadn’t seen evidence that China is using it for anything other than its intended purpose.

Is There A Real Argument Against TikTok?

TikTok has already been banned on government devices and the same argument is being today as justification to ban it across the country:

American data is not safe while using the app.

While TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew has stated that data is indeed safe and that the company had taken measures to help it remain so, Senator Mark Warner, the chair of the intelligence committee, argues that data can never truly be protected due to Chinese laws stating that “any organization” must assist and cooperate with state’s intelligence work and may not refuse to collect evidence for an investigation. Since ByteDance, the parent company of Tiktok is a Chinese company, it most likely had to follow the same rules listed above.

While these concerns are valid, Bowman shot back by providing an argument of his own: “When we look at American companies like Facebook looking the other way in 2016 when Russia colluded to impact our election, Facebook is a national security risk. We’re not talking about a ban on Facebook.” Which for all intents and purposes, is true. No one is talking about a ban on Facebook despite it being used for propaganda and manipulation; the same argument is being used against TikTok. Instead, Bowman proposed a solution to the problem: Adding stricter regulations to social media and giving people more of a choice before they even open the app by asking whether or not data can be shared