As the conflict between China and the U.S. progresses, lawmakers have now turned their attention to TikTok. A China-based company stands behind the super-popular app, so there are growing concerns that user data might end up in the hands of the Chinese government. Therefore, a Democratic senator recently urged on Apple and Google CEOs to remove TikTok from their app stores immediately.
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet said in his latter that Apple and Google should aim to remove TikTok from their stores as it poses “unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.” TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company that allegedly works closely with Chinese government. “Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints,” Bennet writes. But he claims that, unlike most social media platforms, it helps ByteDance to “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
Needless to say, TikTok is one of the most popular apps in the world right now, and the U.S. is no exception. According to Bennet’s letter, it’s the third most popular social media app in the U.S., with more than 100 million users spending an average of more than 80 minutes per day on the app.
While a regular Joe sees TikTok as an app for fun, education, showing off, and stuff like that, in the eyes of the U.S. government, TikTok poses a threat to national security. Perhaps you remember that TikTok was banned from all federal government devices last year. “Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately,” Bennet concluded in his letter to Apple and Google CEOs.
I won’t get even started on growing Sinophobia and the fact that the U.S. and the rest of the world have much bigger concerns than TikTok. I mean I’d love to, but it would take me at least a day to write all of it and a bunch of anti-anxiety medications afterward. But let’s briefly discuss what removing TikTok from app stores means for its U.S. users.
If you already have the app, cool. You can use it as you have so far. However, it will become more difficult, if not impossible, to update it. With time, it will become more of a frustration than a fun experience to use it. At the same time, this opens doors to Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps to add even more TikTok-like features (in Instagram’s case, I don’t think that’s even possible, though). So instead of sharing your personal data with a Chinese company, you’ll share it with Mark Zuckerberg. And that’s so much better, isn’t it?
[via Digital Trends]