TikTok is a beneficial app for people trying to express themselves

Sophie Hance, Editor-in-Chief

NOTE: This story is part of a Point/Counterpoint Opinion. Check out this link to see the other side!

Over the past couple years, a new social media app has become wildly popular with people all around the world. TikTok has roughly 800 million active users, 100 million of which are here in the United States.

TikTok is an app where people can post minute-long videos of them doing pretty much anything they want. TikTok took the place of the popular Vine app, a platform where creators can create and watch six-second videos, which was shut down in 2016. 

Recently, however, there has been some controversy with the app. TikTok is owned by a Chinese technology network called “ByteDance.” In August, President Trump declared it a national security threat due to his belief that China is stealing information from the app’s users. However, it is hardly the first app to be accused of that.

Facebook was rumored to have sold data from its users to at least four Chinese companies in 2018, one of which was flagged by U.S. intelligence. Facebook was never in the process of getting banned.

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The main concern with TikTok is that it could allow privacy and security breaches. The app asks for permission to access contacts, email, phone numbers, camera and microphone, and links to social media, all of which are asked for from Facebook and other social media platforms.

If these allegations were confirmed to be true, service providers are the ones allowing for this to happen. The four largest providers, AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile, and Sprint, not only didn’t prevent privacy invasion from happening in the first place, but were also caught selling data themselves. How are we going to blame an app that only has access to small parts of your phone and not the providers of the device?

There are also many arguments regarding TikTok’s use for why it should not be banned. People spend their time on TikTok watching videos to brighten their day, or even upload content of their own to display their talents and entertain a large audience.

TikTok also allows a less filtered way to communicate and spread information about issues as seen in the news. In the beginning of the Black Lives Matter protests, TikTok was a melting pot of cultures coming together to discuss police brutality.

The platform not only provides people with a place to express themselves, but they also give thousands of jobs to influencers on the app. Some accounts even earn up to $250,000 on their videos. Trump is always pushing that he is determined to lower the unemployment rate, but by banning TikTok, he is throwing away jobs and livelihoods.

Before getting rid of the app all together, the government should look for more ways to fix the problems it has. Whether it is discussing the matters with China or with ByteDance, there is always another option.