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Students react to the growing possibility of a nationwide TikTok ban

By Samantha Scarlatos, Staff Writer

TikTok can be considered the app of the century. Whether a user or not, there’s no doubt almost everyone has seen a video or two. Much like the popular social media platform from 2017,, it allows anyone to post up to three minutes of footage, which can be made either private to followers only, or public. This app has 100 million users in the United States alone.

Within the last few years, consideration of banning TikTok has been growing stronger from the U.S. government because of its links to the Chinese government. This is because the parent company, ByteDance, collects and holds the data users provide. Many people are worried about China’s ability to gain access to American data through this software that they own.

It is suspected that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can control what content U.S. users see by filtering out things that “expose” certain countries. Poor treatment and harsh conditions of people in places that need help are being blocked from American accounts. Aside from this, the CCP can access Americans’ personal information.  

Freshman business major Ava Schlapa uses TikTok and has a public account. She has concerns about the safety of her data on the app.

However, most people do not pay attention to the risks we face when adding something to their phones. Most people do not thoroughly read the terms and conditions beforehand, and some do not review them at all. 

“I don’t read the terms and conditions. I just scroll and agree,” Schlapa said.

If the government decides to ban the app from U.S. devices, that means some users may struggle financially, since their main source of income is from creating TikTok content. 

“It would greatly impact those who make money off the app and they would need to seek other options,” Schlapa said. 

During former President Donald Trump’s last moments in office, the clock was ticking for TikTok’s ownership to be handed over to the U.S. government, but then his term ended. President Joe Biden has enforced security laws against certain apps. It has been banned on federal devices for some time now, and even public universities and schools are banning the app on school devices and WiFi networks.

Freshman nutrition major Mia Colangelo is also an active user of TikTok, having a public account. She disagrees with the measures being taken to control usage of the app.

“I don’t think it’s fair for universities to ban TikTok because it’s either the whole U.S. that bans it, or not. You can’t just exclude certain people from the app,” Colangelo said.  

Many apps collect data from users to help companies produce more products that’ll retrieve even more data. There is no way to escape the collection of data besides avoiding the app entirely, which many privacy activists are aware of. 

Schlapa speculates on ways users can regain control over their privacy while using social media.

“We could minimize our usage of the app, and maybe there’s a way to make international versions of the app, like the United States’ owned TikTok,” she said.

Privacy and security are an everlasting concern for users of social media platforms such as TikTok.

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