How dangerous is TikTok?


The dangers behind TikTok.

James McDermott, Sports Editor

It is safe to say that every student, teacher, administrator, and staff member at WA has heard of the globally popular social media platform, TikTok. It has redefined social media, inspiring Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and even Facebook to implement short videos into their platforms. TikTok’s popularity expanded in 2020 and has since continued to grow year after year, but now the platform is facing questions about possible dangerous connections with the Chinese government.

The White House has already instructed federal agencies to delete TikTok off all official government devices. This is due to a fear that TikTok’s connection to its parent company, ByteDance, compromises user’s private information. This fear is largely because China’s government has the ability to demand any private information from their citizens. As of now, United States citizens are still allowed to use TikTok, but many members of the White House are pushing for a complete ban of the platform. 

Banning TikTok entirely would be a very unnecessary leap and would negatively affect the lives of millions of United States citizens. TikTok has proved to have a positive impact in several ways, arguably even life changing. 

First of all, TikTok has proven to be extremely entertaining for the nearly 100 million United States citizens, coming in as the #1 platform for video viewing, even surpassing Netflix. In fact, each active TikTok user spends over an hour and a half on TikTok per day on average.

TikTok has also provided countless amounts of jobs for people across the United States. People that have found success on TikTok and gained a large following are able to make a profit in several ways. The TikTok Creator Fund was started in an attempt to encourage the influencers who have attracted a large following to continue to create videos. As a reward, they will get paid based on how many views their videos get. Beyond the creator fund, TikTok has given large creators a platform to take part in brand deals as well. 

TikTok is also used by many companies large and small. Many large companies use TikTok as a marketing platform to continue to sell their products, but more importantly, thousands of smaller companies trying to create a foundation have truly utilized TikTok. TikTok has allowed these smaller companies and businesses to connect with their audience, making people like their personalities and enthusiasm, which results in their brand flourishing. Many podcasts have used the same tactic; gain a following based on their personality, then sell their brand. Podcasts and even YouTube channels have found success posting short clips on TikTok to attract their following to their primary platform. 

While I do believe TikTok should not be banned entirely, the fears of the platform are definitely justified. The Chinese government’s ability to demand information from their citizens at any given time definitely raises some red flags, but TikTok has already stated that they have distanced themselves from ByteDance. ByteDance has also denied any connection to such allegations. 

Understanding the danger TikTok potentially could pose to the U.S. government, the proper measures have already been implemented by deleting TikTok from all official government devices. In regards to the general public, many members of the White House are demanding that ByteDance sells the platform to another company if TikTok does not want to be banned entirely. I believe this solution is the most viable, ensuring everyone’s safety while also allowing TikTok to continue to have the positive impact it has proven to have. 

Finally, TikTok also provides a platform where everyone can have a voice. It gives those a voice who otherwise would not have or want one. In addition, it allows for people to speak out on subjects they have an opinion on. It allows people to reach out to a large audience for help when it is needed.

TikTok was created with the intention of positively impacting the lives of millions, and despite allegations against ByteDance, a solution should be agreed upon to allow for TikTok to continue to serve its purpose.