TikTok Ban Divides Community

Concern over addictiveness, data collection creates conversation


Evan Vezmar

During breaks and pauses throughout the school day, students can be seen scrolling through social media or watching videos on their phones.

The social media platform, TikTok, owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance, has increasingly gained worldwide popularity since its inception in September of 2016, amassing over 1.5 billion users. 

TikTok’s popularity, however, has been contrasted with concern over its potential as a global security threat.  On Mar. 23 Shou Chew, TikTok’s CEO appeared before congress stressing the app’s connections to the United States and distance from China. Lawmakers pushed concern regarding the platform’s terms of service which requests the users’ keystroke patterns, meaning theoretically TikTok would know everything that you search and type.

Despite TikTok’s supposed connection to the US, lawmakers fear Chinese government influence marked by their ability to take data from the app’s algorithm. Some of the platform’s defenders claim the efforts to ban TikTok are an attack on free speech and a baseless attack solely due to poor relations between the United States and China. 

Another concern lies in TikTok’s addictive nature. Andrew Mao ‘26 says, , “I think it’s a very fun and entertaining app to use but it can also be quite addictive.” During his questioning in Congress, Chew admitted that while there is a default 60 minute time limit on the app there are no safeguards required to prevent excessive time spent on the app.. [TikTok is] a very intoxicating and seductive media form,” English teacher Cory Tao says. 

Calvin Bredesen ‘24 says, “The strong push to ban TikTok while other American social media platforms use the same data collecting methods shows a strong hypocrisy, and I think the part that should be under scrutiny is the connection to the Chinese government, rather than the content posted or data collected.”

TikTok has since been banned in Montana, the only US state to have done so, so far.