Time is Ticking for TikTok

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Editor-in-Chief

I originally downloaded the app TikTok as a joke, I expected it to be another social media app similar to those we already have. However I found myself using it more and more until it became a part of my everyday life. Now this digital space where many like me have found their community is in danger of getting banned in the United States.

TikTok is a social media app where people post shorts clips of things like challenges, memes, point of view videos and other content. The majority of the audience are teenagers from Generation Z however there are many diverse users from older farmers, teachers and parents. The app can be used by anyone over the age of 13.

Many countries like India and the United States have become weary of the app itself due to its’ origins as TikTok is based out of china. Government leaders have shared worry because they fear that TikTok is selling user information to the Chinese government. Mike Pompeo, our Secretary of State, announced on FOX News that the United States is in fact looking into banning TikTok.

In response to Pompeo’s comment TikTok released an official statement. “TikTok  is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S.,” a TikTok Spokesperson said. “We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users.”

TikTok users had a scare earlier this week because the app went down. It began to show all the videos had zero views and zero likes. Users believed it had something to do with the ban and began frantically tweeting and caused #tiktokdown to be the number one hashtag trending on Twitter. It was later explained on TikTok’s Twitter that the glitch was not due to the ban. However, with the fear that came with the glitch, creators are acknowledging the threat of ban and are posting goodbye videos and creating other social media accounts in order to stay in touch with their audiences.

I truly understand why our governments are worried. I do not like the idea of random people having my information, but honestly I do not know how my information could be used to hurt this country. My parents are not powerful government officials and I do not have a lot of money. I am an ordinary 17 year old girl.

I also believe that if the government were to ban the app, it would be a form of censorship and they would be infringing on our first amendment right to free speech. It would be silencing a large amount of United States citizens.

When I first heard of this situation my mind went to a book that we read in ninth grade called 1984 by George Orwell, and in that book the government is often referred to as “Big Brother.” More specifically the quote, “Big Brother is always watching.” I feel like if the government, or more specifically the Trump Administration, were to ban TikTok it is the beginning of that kind of thinking.

Our government is already not as strong as it typically is due to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protesting and the continuous COVID-19 pandemic. Banning TikTok on top of everything else just seems like a bad idea. If TikTok is deleted it will anger many, including myself, and will just destabilize the government even more.