Should TikTok Be Banned: Argumentative Essay

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TikTok is a free social media app that lets you watch, make, and share videos right from your phone often to a soundtrack of top music hits. It was initially available in the United States as but was rebranded in August 2018 when the two apps merged. TikTok is immensely popular with more than 100 million users. Users can watch and record videos of them, lip-synching to popular music and sound bites, as with the lip-synching app Dubsmash. Kids can produce short, shareable videos ranging from funny to extreme, as they did on the now-defunct Vine. And just like YouTube, TikTok is an immersive world of videos that allows you to communicate through likes, comments, and even duets with friends and admirers. TikTok also creates celebrities of its own. Overnight sensations such as Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorius gained popularity on the app online, especially with children and teens, back before TikTok acquired Since then, the list has been joined by even more stars. But it can be a struggle for parents to know if it's really secure with so much knowledge out there. There are real concerns about children using the app. You have to use privacy settings, as with any social network, to restrict how much data you and your children share. Without reading or editing it first, kids can post stuff. The app has been plagued by other issues: allegations of online predators using the app to exploit younger users, an FTC suit for breaching the privacy law of children, and severe technical failures including one that might have allowed the business to collect user data. Every major Chinese corporation has been alleged to have an internal 'cell' accountable to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, with many of its agents charged with collecting secrets.

President Donald Trump said back in August that TikTok had to either be purchased by a US agency by September 15 or face a ban. On Friday, the company, which does not operate in China but is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, was given a November 12 deadline to enter into a satisfactory agreement to continue its operations in the US. It hasn't fulfilled the demands of Trump. Instead, Oracle and Walmart revealed on Saturday that they would purchase a 20 percent TikTok stake. The majority will continue to own ByteDance. Trump said the agreement has its 'blessing'. ByteDance said that in order to mitigate suspected security issues, Oracle has the right to conduct security inspections on the US source code of TikTok. Trump says the deal would lead to an investment of $5 billion in US education, but ByteDance has said it is 'unconscious' of any such agreement. The deal would lead to 25,000 new jobs, Oracle suggests, but this seems highly unlikely. This ban is all about national security and fears about the use of smartphones by the Chinese Communist Party to steal data from American citizens. The Trump administration, however, has consistently declined to offer any justification for its allegations.

There are 30 million monthly active users in the United States, according to TikTok. With 46 million app installs last year, the US accounted for six percent of global downloads American users spend on the app an average of 46 minutes a day, totaling 37 billion video views a month. In the United States, 34% of regular active users record videos on a daily basis. The largest age group for TikTok in the United States is 18-24 years of age, which accounts for 42 percent. That's followed by 27 percent of 13-17-year-olds. In the United States, people aged 13-26 years are as likely to use TikTok as Facebook and Twitter. Around 60 percent of US users are female, compared to 40 percent of male users.

Not the only nation worried about Chinese apps is the United States. For example, WeChat, a messaging, social media, and mobile payment software, was accused by the Australian army of functioning as spyware, saying the app was caught transmitting data to Chinese intelligence servers. But there is also a national security drawback to banning the apps and demanding Chinese divestiture. It harms the moral legitimacy of the United States to push internationally for free speech and democracy. Critics have often argued that the moral authority of America has been seriously weakened during Trump's presidency, and this action may arguably contribute to the decline. Although cybersecurity issues are raised by TikTok, they are not substantially different from those raised by other smartphone apps. In my opinion, by enacting national regulations on privacy, to determine how data is collected and used and where it is stored, these issues may be better addressed. Another option is to make Google, Apple, and others check the applications for cyber security problems before allowing new versions of their app stores to be made accessible.

The biggest issue posed by the restrictions is their impact on the right of citizens to speak, and whether they violate the First Amendment. TikTok is a channel of communication and content is published and hosted by TikTok. Although the courts have permitted some control of speech, the regulations must promote a legitimate government interest and be 'narrowly tailored' to do so to withstand a legal challenge. A legitimate governmental concern is national security.

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The bans could also damage the US economy because US businesses could be barred in retaliation by other countries. In addition to reciprocal consulate closures, China and the United States have already gone through a period of reciprocal banning of firms. The United States has put on the Bureau of Industry Security Entity List the Chinese telecom company Huawei, prohibiting US companies from doing business with it. Although this has stopped Huawei from selling wireless hardware in the United States, it has also prevented the telecom giant from selling US software and forced it to use its own chips rather than purchasing them from US companies. The White House was encouraged by over a dozen US businesses not to ban Chinese apps because it would damage their company in China. Other nations use Chinese companies' US bans as justification for banning US businesses, even if the United States has not specifically taken action against them or their businesses. Such trade barriers are harming the moral legitimacy of the United States, harming the global economy, and stifling innovation. They have also cut off US companies from China's high-growth market.

In his executive order, Donald J. Trump said that TikTok, a mobile video-sharing application owned by ByteDance Ltd., a Chinese firm, has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over a billion times worldwide. TikTok automatically gathers large quantities of information from its users, including information about the Internet and other network operations, such as location data and browsing and search history. His collection of data threatens to give the Chinese Communist Party access to the personal and confidential information of Americans, potentially allowing China to control the locations of federal employees and contractors, establish blackmail records of personal information, and conduct corporate espionage. TikTok also allegedly censors material deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese Communist Party, such as content relating to demonstrations in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities by China. For misinformation campaigns supporting the Chinese Communist Party, such as TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the source of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Such risks are real. The use of TikTok on federal government phones has also been banned by the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces. The Government of India has recently banned the use in the country of TikTok and other Chinese mobile apps. American businesses and organizations have started to ban TikTok on their devices. President further stressed that to protect national security, the United States needs to take drastic action against the owners of TikTok.

TikTok has downplayed its links to Beijing, saying that data it collects on US users is mostly kept in Virginia. TikTok officials also insist that the company has never handed any data over to the Chinese authorities, despite the country's wide national powers to subpoena private companies for such data. A federal class-action lawsuit involving thousands of American families alleges that TikTok's independent security analysis found that the app syphons data, including American children's facial profiles, and sends it to Chinese servers, although the lawsuit does not offer proof that any information has ever been transferred to the Chinese Communist Party.

Software giant Microsoft has reported that it is among a handful of businesses in early talks to acquire the short-form video service after the Trump administration started turning up the pressure on TikTok. For Microsoft, a $1.5 trillion company that through the sale of software and cloud computing services has based its business mainly on corporate customers, buying TikTok will be its first big foray into a social networking site popular among young users. Microsoft officials say it is evaluating a TikTok acquisition that would likely purchase American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand services from TikTok, but officials close to the agreement say the final offer could include operations in many more countries.

The executive order of Trump comes on the same day that Facebook released a new product, Reels, a video-sharing app that mimics the core features of TikTok. TikTok accused Facebook of launching a 'copycat' service, alleging that the social network is seeking to capitalize on the zeal of the administration to punish China for its own advantage.

In the face of the current situation, TikTok can sell its shares to other companies in the United States to gain the trust of the government. A complete ban on the use of this app will affect the companies badly. However, selling a few shares to another company would still be in its favor as it will earn something out of it at least. Another step that the owner of this app can take is to ask the Trump administration to provide them with solid proof, which indicates that the app has been used illegally to draw out the data of their active users. If there are other issues, the government should share them with the US public. If not, then it will be more fitting to take less drastic steps and represent the American people better.

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Should TikTok Be Banned: Argumentative Essay. (2023, December 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
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