Shelly Palmer, a Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University, argues that TikTok poses no more of a threat than Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or other apps.
ByteDance’s ubiquitous short video-sharing platform is facing continuous restrictions in the western world due to “security concerns.”
TikTok is alleged to have provided users’ data to the Chinese government, which led to it being banned from most government agencies in the US and Europe. The US Senate is currently discussing a nation-wide ban, while EU member states are following suit to restrict the app.
However, there are many divided voices raising concerns.
“It’s very addictive, probably the most addictive algorithm of all, so if you are afraid of your children becoming addicted to social media, I guess that’s the big issue, but that’s not what the Biden administration is concerned about. They are fully politicizing this,” said Palmer.
Palmer points out that China and the US have a “complicated relationship with a lot of politics” involved.
If the Biden administration is really concerned about what TikTok is doing with data, they have to be equally concerned about Facebook, Google, SnapChat, Twitter, and every other social media site, she argues.
“Realistically, the data that is taken from us every day is far away from other sides and far exceeds what TikTok is taking.”
Smartphones collect more data than TikTok
TikTok harvests a small amount of data in comparison to a smartphone as it is a single news feed, so it understands exactly what you like, Palmer points out.
“It kind of knows your preferences; if you log in to TikTok, it gets your log-in information and knows who you are. That’s about it. Your phone knows your location, the time of day, and everything else that the phone can possibly collect.”
So the phone itself knows a lot, and “TikTok” may have access to some of that information, but again, so does every other social media site and every other site.
“So this can’t be about the data, this has to be about the politics, and again, this has been highly politicized,” the professor stated.
TikTok will only know “you like to watch woodworking and baseball,” Palmer questioned; “are they going to use that?”
There are many other ways “than TikTok to run campaigns and propagandize.”
‘Banning TikTok will be detrimental’
Deborah, a constituent in Santa Monica, wrote an open letter to President Joe Biden and two senators appealing calls to restrict the app nation-wide through a proposed bill.
“As a constituent of yours and an avid user and fan of TikTok, I urge you to consider the potential consequences of such a ban,” she wrote.
TikTok has become an incredibly valuable tool for political campaigns, especially for the Democrat Party. It has allowed candidates to reach out to young voters in a new and innovative way, explained Deborah.
If our govt is aiming to ban TikTok because of foreign security issues then add Twitter.
Plaskett points out Saudi Arabia and Qatar $ interests are investors. They invested $250M or more getting them access to confidential info which includes user data.pic.twitter.com/aPqjqpHk4D
— The Bern Identity (@bern_identity) March 9, 2023
“I strongly believe that banning TikTok would be a mistake, not only for the democratic process but for the country as a whole. Instead of banning the app, we should focus on finding ways to address the concerns surrounding data privacy and security while still allowing people to continue using the platform,” wrote Deborah.
As the TikTok story unfolds, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest developments.