Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

TikTok Fights for its Future

Kay McHugh

A bill was passed in the House in a vote of 352-65 to ban TikTok in the U.S. if it is not sold in six months. Currently, the company is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based technology company. Lawmakers have expressed concern that the company’s current ownership structure puts national security at risk because of ByteDance’s connection to China. 

In the event that TikTok did become available for purchase, the only companies that could buy it are U.S.based tech companies, such as Meta, which  currently owns Instagram and Facebook. 

The Senate has yet to vote on this ban, though President Biden has stated that if passed in the Senate, he announced plans to sign it. 

For TikTok users in the United States, if it is banned, if the app is already downloaded, it will still be able to be used on devices. No new downloads or updates will be able to happen, so instead of an instant deletion of TikTok, it will slowly become glitchy and gradually die out. 

Isabella Bass, a second-year nursing major, spends between three to four hours on TikTok a day. She uses the app for a variety of things but mostly to keep up with current trends. These range from cooking ideas, to beauty and skin care.

“I also like watching clothing hauls on TikTok because they’re shorter than YouTube and vlogs are just too long for me to watch. I like the more condensed videos on TikTok,” Bass said.

“If they do actually go through the ban with TikTok I think a new app will just replace it or they’ll just bring back”

Hannah Martin, a fourth-year psychology major, tends to spend an hour a day on TikTok. She uses the app mostly for entertainment and thinks it’s a good app for getting reviews of products like makeup. 

She thinks that Instagram and TikTok are different and have varying strengths between them.

“I use Instagram to keep up with people but for TikTok, I don’t really follow people I know or use it to see what’s going on in their lives. It’s mostly just random videos I watch for entertainment,” Martin said. 

Regarding the ban, Martin thinks that it really shouldn’t be a priority. 

“I think it’s stupid and there are bigger things our government should be focused on. I also think that there is more personal information in general being shared on other apps like Instagram, not TikTok, that foreign nations could still be getting.”

Martin also thinks that they are not putting the same concern for the security of data privacy on all platforms, they are only targeting TikTok.

“If they are worried about TikTok and our security, they should be worried about all of the apps, even if they are U.S.-based,” Martin said.

If TikTok is banned, Martin will be sad because she feels that the app has allowed her to learn a lot about different things that others haven’t provided a platform for. If it comes to this conclusion she will probably start using X, formerly known as Twitter, in hopes of receiving similar exposure to current events that TikTok provides. 

Collin Rogers-Peckham, a second-year biology major, believes that this ban is a distraction from other affairs that the U.S. government is dealing with.

“I think the U.S. is projecting and trying to distract from ongoing issues, and I worry that their focus on the bill is to distract us from other bills being passed,” Rogers-Peckham said. 

They brought attention to discrepancies between how the U.S.-based apps are viewed in retrospect to foreign apps.

“American-owned companies like Google, Meta and Amazon have already admitted to taking and selling information from their users, but Congress does nothing to protect us from that,” Rogers-Peckham said. 

They think that a lot of young people especially are reacting in a more emotional than logical statement about this ban. They understand that students are upset with the idea that tiktok could be gone sooner than later.

“It’s frustrating but understandable. It’s hard to always be the bigger person when it comes to a government that repeatedly ignores our interests. I wish we could take a more logical approach but look where that’s gotten us,” Rogers-Peckham said. 

The SU community will wait while the senate decides the future of TikTok,  though students debate whether TikTok’s ownership is a priority in terms of what our government should be focusing on. 

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