Banning Tiktok is a Futile Effort


Lea Flavier

Because of the wide sphere of influence that the social media giant, Tiktok, possesses on the current mainstream, its sudden divestiture from American media is unprecedented. Owned by the Chinese company, Bytedance, the app is drawing major concerns not only from the American government but also from many countries across the globe. Recently, countries such as Britain, Canada, France and New Zealand had the app banned from its government devices. The safety of its millions of American users was challenged in a hearing and just this last month, Tiktok’s Singaporean Chief Executive Officer, Shou Zi Chew was grilled in congress for the potential risks of the app’s usage.

Is it truly just xenophobia playing the puppet strings or is the government rightfully uneasy with the app’s security issues? Tiktok’s algorithm works by providing its users with content that they enjoy, made possible by tracking user activity, search history, and essentially spying. While other social media apps do the same thing verbatim, one thing sets Tiktok apart. It’s owned by a Chinese company, and the collection of user data can easily be turned in to its government. Despite its ownership and privacy concerns, Tiktok manages to stay as the most downloaded app of its time. Despite Chew’s attempts to cool the political temperature of the allegories against Tiktok, his words fell on deaf ears.

Is banning Tiktok truly doing anything? In all honesty, banning the app completely would violate the first amendment, which is an American value that is ingrained in culture. The congress is barred from and can’t make it so that people would just stop using Tiktok, especially since out of its millions of American users, many would be creators that earn money solely or partially from the app. The attempt for its total deletion would only face a great legal dilemma and is a possibly futile effort, especially since the app has integrated itself so successfully into the mainstream. Countless celebrities, major networks, businesses and even politicians use the app. As for now, banning the app from government devices may be the American government’s first and last encounter with its expulsion.