TikTok has quickly taken the social media world by storm, with many using their the platform to grow their business, socialise and engage in content. As of 2023, the platform reported approximately 1.6 Billion accounts, with an average of 1 Billion active users per month.
So why is TikTok banning so controversial? And what lies ahead in the future for the social media platform? In this article, we’ll discuss the effects of TikTok banning and what it means for those who have built their brand on the platform.
Table of Contents
What is TikTok Banning?
Certain countries have implemented a TikTok banning, which means that local citizens cannot use the platform or access its content. This has been implemented as a complete banning or a temporary restriction due to various reasons surrounding the use of the platform.
Why would a country decide on banning TikTok?
TikTok bans have been implemented for various reasons, which varies depending on the country’s concerns. Some of the reasons why the platform has received backlash from governments include:
Data privacy and security concerns
Some governments have expressed concerns about how TikTok handles user data, especially given that its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China. These concerns stem from the fear that user data could be accessed by the Chinese government or misused in some way.
Some countries, such as India and the United States, have cited national security concerns as reasons to consider banning TikTok. They fear that the app could be used for espionage, spreading propaganda, or influencing public opinion.
TikTok has faced criticism in some regions for not adequately moderating content on its platform, leading to concerns about the proliferation of explicit, violent, or harmful material, of which can be detrimental to its viewers and wider society.
Cultural and political issues
In some cases, certain countries have decided on banning the TikTok platform due to concerns over the social media’s potential to undermine local values or spread politically sensitive content.
It is important to note that the reasons for a TikTok ban may vary across countries and are subject to change as political climates and policies evolve. Additionally, some bans have been temporary or partial, and TikTok has taken steps to address concerns and reinstate the app in certain regions.
Although every country hasn’t implemented a ban on the basis of the above concerns, many others share similar fears and worries over the use of the platform. TikTok now faces a global challenge in reassuring both local users and wider governments of the safe use of the social media platform.
Is there a TikTok banning in US?
At the time of the article’s publication, a decision has not been reached by the US government on whether or not to ban the social media platform.
Almost half of the US population uses the TikTok app on a monthly basis. The platform offers a plethora of user-generated content, from business advice to light-hearted entertainment, the content being produced seems to be a goldmine for its users. Business owners also gain value from the platform through TikTok business accounts, TikTok Advertising and posting engaging video content.
So why is the US considering a TikTok banning?
TikTok Banning US
There are four main reasons, why some members of the US Congress are calling for a ban on TikTok. The main reasons that are currently being discussed include:
The collection of data
TikTok has been scolded for its apparent tendency to “collect every data point possible”, which includes the phone’s model, the IP address of the user and their timezone. However, this is not solely an exclusive feature of using TikTok, as every other social media site also collects these data points.
In fact, TikTok is the lesser assailant compared to other social media sites, as it does not collect information such as your actual name and your exact geographical location. Some technical studies have shown that the platform abides by the regulations that it has set in its privacy statement.
The effects on children
The effects of children engaging with TikTok has also risen as a talking point in the potential banning of the platform. Due to features such as auto-play, the social media site has been widely criticised for its convenient consumption of content which can lead to an addiction of using the app and potentially result in detrimental effects on children.
However, again this is not a solely exclusive concern for TikTok as all social media sites shoulder the burden of a potential app addiction, and they all require action in order to safeguard children from the potential negative effects.
Misinformation and violence
Another cause for concern is the potential for TikTok to spread misinformation and violence on the platform. Although this is again a problem faced by other social media giants, as much of the content is user-generated.
Social media sites in general need to have strict regulations and community policies in place that safeguard audiences against such negative types of content.
Control of information
Some of the US Members of Congress also display concerns over TikTok and its ability to control information. Fears suggest that this platform has the potential to change societal opinions on political topics, influence democratic elections and create echo chambers of online conversations.
Many fear that the parent company of TikTok, DyteDance, must answer to the Chinese Communist Party, which could influence their level of controlling information on the app.
However many that oppose the TikTok banning have shown credible studies that indicate this just isn’t the case, the concern of information is due to hysteria rather than credible evidence.
Future of TikTok Banning US
The future of TikTok in the US has yet to be determined.
On one end of the spectrum, we have US Congress members with plausible concerns but on the other side, we have the opposition saying that it is fear-mongering and hysteria. As for now, it’s up in the air whether or not the app will be banned entirely or sold off to an American company for it to regulate.
Is the UK banning TikTok?
The U.K. has not banned the TikTok app from citizen use, however, the government phones have been banned from using the platform over national security concerns.
TikTok banned UK government
The U.K. Parliament has implemented a TikTok banning on civil servants’ and ministers’ mobile phones. This is similar to the European Commission’s stance on the issue, which has also banned the platform in government-owned mobile devices.
TikTok Banning: will the app be gone forever?
A TikTok banning, for the most part, appears to mirror the tensions that other countries feel with the Chinese government, in addition to worthy concerns over data security and control of information.
In an increasingly digitalised world, we are facing unprecedented issues and safety concerns over apps such as TikTok. Facebook was the last social media platform to face global scrutiny over its collection of data, and the way things are going now, it is unlikely to be the last.