Is TikTok on a down spiral?

TikTok is on the verge of shutdown after a hearing with congress about data breaches from the app.
Photo courtesy: Harvard Law

TikTok is at a crossroads after a United States Congress hearing about the app jeopardizing millions of Americans’ privacy.

According to The New York Times, “Lawmakers in the United States, Europe, and Canada have escalated efforts to restrict access to TikTok.” TikTok is a short-form video hosting service owned by a Chinese company named “ByteDance,” similar to the app people knew as Vine.

The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, was told to either sell the app or face possible bans. A House bill passed in January is planning to terminate TikTok on the Campus Act of 2023. H.R. 231 expressed that in the state of Texas, TikTok is not authorized on school campuses from all smart devices, including computers, tablets, smartwatches, and smartphones. A Senate bill passed in December 2022 (S. 1143) states that TikTok is not prohibited on any government devices. Also, recently colleges across Florida banned TikTok on their campus’s Wi-Fi.

Isaiah Hopson, an information security analyst at Apple, shares his thoughts on the app’s privacy.

“With the Internet, there is possibilities of your data being invaded,” Hopson stated. “It’s not just TikTok that has the possibility of identity theft or data breaching; mostly every social media app does it. Facebook has been publicly outed times before about data breaches and information leaking.”

In April of 2021, according to CNN, Facebook was accused of users’ personal information being posted on hacking websites. This information included full names, locations, birthdays, email addresses, and relationship statuses. More than half a billion users were affected by this data breach.

Danaa’ Quaintance, a student at St. Petersburg College, gives her insight on her data possibly being shared.

“It’s scary because somebody might hack our phones and see where I’m located,” said Quaintance. “I could be out by myself and be kidnapped because they know where I’m at based off of TikTok.”

Shawn Townes, a Florida State University student, also commented on the possible data breach of the app.

“It’s unnerving that the app could possibly be breached because of how many people use it,” Townes explained.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great and fun app, but I don’t think I want my information shared without my consent.”

Currently, they are still discussing restricting the app. We can expect more information regarding the TikTok ban in the upcoming months from the U.S. Congress.

Contact your local legislators if you want to stay updated about the ongoing TikTok ban.