Our dear bipartisan politicians in Congress are once again trying to meddle with our lives by calling for a ban on TikTok.
As if we didn’t have enough problems to deal with, now they want to take away our precious source of entertainment.
But let’s take a step back and see what this is all about. TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create short-form videos, and it’s especially popular among the younger generation. It’s owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, which has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). And apparently, this has our lawmakers all riled up.
They claim that the CCP could use TikTok to collect user data, track location data, and push political propaganda and dangerous messages. And they have a point. After all, more than 150 million Americans use TikTok, and that’s a lot of data for the CCP to get their hands on.
But here’s the thing: do we really want to give our government the authority to ban our access to an application, no matter the risk (or perceived risk) to national security? I mean, sure, China sucks, and we don’t want them spying on us. But think about the precedent this could set.
If we allow our government to start banning apps just because they perceive them as a threat, soon every competitor to their friends in Silicon Valley will be declared a risk to national security. And that’s not a road we want to go down.
Besides, let’s not forget the real reason behind this sudden interest in TikTok. The six largest U.S. tech stocks lost 35% of their value ($3.8 trillion) in 2022, and Meta (formerly Facebook/Instagram) spent nearly $20 million lobbying Congress to advocate for policies that benefit them.
So, it’s not hard to see why a struggling tech company like Meta would find it very beneficial if their number one competitor was banned by the U.S. government. But we shouldn’t let them use our national security as an excuse to protect their own interests.
In conclusion, while I’m no special pleader for TikTok or the Chinese Communists, I believe we should be very careful before we start banning apps and restricting our own access to information. Let’s not give our government the power to decide what we can and can’t see on our phones.