Congress set to remove the use of TikTok in America
The United States Congress raises significant concerns about Tiktok, a social media app believed to be a potential threat to the United States National Security. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, which U.S. officials are concerned with Chinese laws pressuring the company and TikTok to share United States user data for disinformation and intelligence reasons.
U.S. officials believe Tiktok has the authority to control the user algorithm and create heavy influence on users this way. Along with other programming concerns of ByteDance, Congress curated the “ No TikTok on United States Devices Act” in December 2022 as part of a $1.7 trillion spending bill. With the fear that China may weaponize the data, the U.S. government banned the app from official devices, which caused more than half of the U.S. states to follow. Some states created their guidelines and restrictions along with some colleges, which have made TikTok inaccessible through campus Wifi.
TikTok spokesperson, Brooke Oberwetter, denies China’s laws impacting the company because the app is privately owned. While Congress believes the app controls U.S. users’ information, Oberwetter says, “ The app also doesn’t access users’ photos, videos, or contacts unless the user allows it.” On March 23, TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to testify on the users’ privacy and data security, along with any affiliation to the Chinese government, during the House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing.
With these concerns, many businesses may not want to use TikTok as a platform to market. As many states across the country put together their own rules for the app, it leaves businesses with a small marginalized demographic to grasp as an audience. While the larger demographic on TikTok is Gen Z and Millennials, it makes the demographic market smaller and smaller. Producing unique content on TikTok is harder for businesses, including small businesses, so TikTok may be too big of a platform to stand out.
The future of TikTok will be determined by the results of the hearing in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as the company will have to explain issues that concern United States National Security.