Is TikTok actually a threat to national security? | The Tylt

Is TikTok actually a threat to national security?

TikTok has drawn scrutiny because of potential privacy concerns stemming from its Chinese ownership. Specifically, lawmakers are worried because the Chinese government could compel TikTok's parent company Bytedance to hand over data on Americans. The DNC, RNC and Wells Fargo have banned their people from using the app. Another concern is that the app could be a source of influence over Americans through censorship or selective promotion of certain topics.

However banning the app does not necessarily address the concerns critics are raising. China is actively trying to steal data and intellectual property through hacking, coercion and spying. The threats that the Chinese government poses to the United States are separate from TikTok. Banning the app would do little to address how hackers working for the Chinese state break into corporate databases with frightening regularity. TikTok is not uniquely worse or better than other apps like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

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TikTok argues it is a platform and community for creators and that's it. It's promised to fight election misinformation and said it would work with the Department of Homeland Security in countering foreign election influence. When the authoritarian National Security Law came into effect in Hong Kong—which would have mandated the company to turn over data on request to the Chinese government—TikTok left Hong Kong and ceased operations there. Through its actions it's shown that it is a responsible company that is working to protect its users. 

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For Republicans, the fact that TikTok has Chinese ownership at all is a reason to worry. If compelled, the company would have to give access to the Chiense government. The fact that it is so popular means that a large number of Americans are potentially exposed to this risk. The company also comes with fears over censorship and moderation—its moderators infamously enforced Chinese censorship policies in the past. It censored videos about Tiananmen Square, banned religious groups, and Tibetan independence. 

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FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is TikTok actually a threat to national security?
A festive crown for the winner
#TikTokIsDangerous
#TikTokIsJustAnApp