TikTok is Evil


Annabelle Alton

Tik-Tok continues to gain popularity among kids around the world, giving China eyes into millions of homes around the United States. Teens often only glance at TikTok’s terms and conditions before allowing the app access to their microphone, camera, and tons of personal information. 

Under Chinese law, Tik-Tok is required to give the Chinese government access to their entire database, as the country continues to aspire to obtain the most power in artificial intelligence. Many remain concerned about allowing another country to gain immense influence over the American population, as propaganda and false information are extremely present on the app. It is clear that the social media app has taken over with over 1 billion users, and who knows how it will affect our generation for years to come. 

Tiktok’s algorithm seems to be the most accurate compared to other social media applications. By constantly collecting data on users’ most liked videos, it is suspected that the app boosts engagement by promoting personalized content. Once users are hooked, they send them down rabbit holes of videos discussing sensitive topics like suicide and self-harm on their “For-you page”. 

The “For-you page” is a tool used to view recommended clips compiled from different accounts on the database. Here, Tik Tok has the ability to promote propaganda, as well as sensor information. It is evident that they can spread messages of the Chinese communist party, and often shadowban/boost videos depending on their political messages. U.S. Muslim teen Feroza Aziz posted a video to spread awareness about China’s oppression of its Uighur Muslim population before being banned from the app entirely. Also, in late 2020, all videos with the hashtags #Blacklivesmatter and #GeorgeFloyd appeared to have zero views. Although TikTok headquarters apologized for the incident and claimed that this was a glitch, the videos remained shadow-banned for weeks to follow. The algorithm continues to spread conspiracies about fake vaccines and promotes false videos about America’s foreign affairs. As time continues, it grows clear that this app is used to serve authoritarian needs and continually spreads brainwashing information to its younger audiences. 

Concerned, India was the first country to step into action. Due to previous security suspicions, when more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed by Chinese troops at the Himalayan border, India proposed a digital strike. The country banned over 59 Chinese apps including TikTok. Some apps were hit especially hard including ByteDance (TikTok’s parent app), which lost 30% of its previous users. The fact that social media can be used to spread a specific political agenda shows its power over humans and causes many to wonder how these apps could be used in the future. 

At this rate, if technology is the future, then China is the future. During President Biden’s 2022 State of The Union Address speech, he called to limit destructive interactions between children and social media. In order to gain control of America’s media consumption, we need to pay attention to our children’s TikTok use and take government action to limit foreign countries’ media influence over our nation.