A new poll has found that 38% of TikTok users believe the app should be banned, while another 23% are not sure. The poll, which was conducted by YouGov, surveyed 1,500 individuals in the United States.
TikTok’s Battle Over Potential Ban and Data Collection Practices
In 2020, the Trump administration in the United States made an announcement regarding the potential ban of Chinese-developed social media platforms, TikTok and WeChat, citing concerns over data collection practices.
China’s laws enable the government to force companies in the country to “support and cooperate in national intelligence work” which surely could include data collection. TikTok says that it doesn’t send US data to the Chinese government but it’s possible that these statements weren’t true.
In September 2020, an executive order was issued to prevent these apps from being available in U.S. app stores and to restrict access for users within the country.
However, the apps were not ultimately removed from the digital ecosystem in the United States. The Biden administration later revoked this executive order in June 2021. Despite this, the conflict between TikTok and U.S. authorities persisted throughout 2022.
To address the concerns raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), TikTok underwent a significant restructuring of its data hosting. In March 2022, TikTok initiated discussions with Oracle Corporation for a project named “Project Texas,” aimed at storing all data of U.S. users on U.S. soil. This project, with an estimated cost of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, was undertaken as part of TikTok’s efforts to build trust with U.S. institutions.
While the congressional hearing in March 2023, featuring TikTok CEO Shou Chew, indicated bipartisan support for the motion to ban the popular social video app, the opinion among U.S. citizens, especially TikTok users, remains mixed and uncertain.
According to recent reports, it has been revealed that the video-sharing platform has been storing the Social Security numbers of American users in China. Interestingly, in March, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress, explicitly stating that no American data was being stored in China.
Reports show that TikTok has been storing American users’ Social Security numbers in China
In March, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress that no American data was stored in China
Sent a letter to @DOJ demanding an investigation into whether Chew lied under oath.
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) June 2, 2023
United States Public Opinion on Tiktok
As of March 2023, among internet users in the United States, a notable segment of adult citizens and TikTok users expressed their endorsement for the U.S. government’s call to sell the ownership stakes of TikTok’s Chinese owners.
According to Statista, approximately 30 percent of adult citizens in the U.S. exhibited strong approval towards the government’s request for Chinese owners to divest their stakes. In contrast, two out of every 10 TikTok users strongly supported this demand.
It was also found that individuals between the ages of 30 and 64 were more inclined to support a ban on TikTok compared to those under 30 years old.
Among respondents under 30, around 40 percent expressed their support for a ban on the video-sharing platform, while 61 percent opposed such a ban. In contrast, among respondents over 65 years old, a significant majority of 83 percent favored a ban, while only 17 percent were against it.
It was observed that a greater proportion of Republicans are in favor of the U.S. government’s call for either the sale of TikTok’s Chinese owners’ stakes or a ban on the platform.
Forty percent of Republicans expressed their approval of the government’s request, whereas only 21 percent of Democrats stated strong support for it.
Individuals who are uncertain about the potential ban of TikTok likely have mixed opinions due to perceiving both advantages and disadvantages associated with the app. While some view TikTok as a valuable tool for having fun and connecting with loved ones, others see it as a legitimate national security concern. Some also don’t like the app and consider it a potential source of distraction and cyberbullying.
Ultimately, TikTok users must assess the app’s worth in light of these risks. The fact that approximately 23 percent of users express uncertainty regarding the ban indicates the absence of a definitive consensus regarding TikTok’s future in the United States.
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