Thoughts on TikTok

Patrick Corso, Contributing writer


President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban TikTok in the United States have caused a reasonable debate between citizens and politicians.

TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance. The website launched in China in September 2016 and became available worldwide in August 2018 after merging with

If TikTok was banned by the United States government, this could potentially jeopardize U.S. citizens’ First Amendment rights.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that Congress is forbidden from enacting any laws that abridge freedom of speech or establishment of religious beliefs.

I believe that TikTok should NOT be banned.

As of now, no ban has been enacted, except in India due to border clashes with China. If Microsoft or another American company successfully acquires TikTok, these issues might subside.

Privacy concerns have arisen from the app. In their privacy policy, they collect usage information, IP addresses, mobile carrier, keystroke patterns, location data and other data. In early 2020, Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, accused the app of being “spyware” and declares TikTok’s fingerprinting system “terrifying.”

Later the same month, the United States Federal Trade Commission found TikTok guilty of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Because many of the site’s users were children, they were deemed to have collected personal information from children under 13 years of age without obtaining parental consent.

Tech experts have not been able to verify that data being collected by TikTok was also being collected by China’s government. Many have noted the amount of data collected was equal to data collected by Western social media giants such as Facebook or Twitter. On review, TikTok collects less data than Facebook.

Thanks to Trump, the relationship between the United States and China has been slowly declining ever since he took office in January 2017. Because TikTok is based in China and owned by the Chinese government, Chinese media censorship rules apply just like other Chinese social media platforms such as Tencent QQ and WeChat. TikTok has banned videos that criticize the Communist Party of China, as well as videos depicting the ongoing Hong Kong protests and Tibetan independence.

Despite all this, I believe the First Amendment rights mean TikTok should not get deleted.