Tik Tok: A Form of Entertainment Now a Threat to National Security

Graphic by Sidney Stablein, Designer and Social Media Coordinator

Story by News Editor Ellie Youngs

When first brought to the public stage, Tik Tok was introduced as an app that would serve as nothing more than another outlet for kids to post videos of different dances. Now, the app has over one billion monthly users, and it has caught the attention of the government due to concerns regarding national security. 

Over the past few months, lawmakers in Canada, Europe and the United States have increased their efforts to restrict access to Tik Tok again. On Monday, February 27, the White House communicated to federal officials that they would have 30 days to delete Tik Tok after U.S. officials raised growing concerns about the idea that the Chinese government could potentially pressure ByteDance, Tik Tok’s parent company, to hand over information collected from users that could then be used for intelligence purposes or to spread disinformation. 

House Republicans have since moved forward with a bill that would enable President Biden to enact nationwide bans on Tik Tok and other software applications that could be a threat to national security. This initiative was initially introduced to the House in December of 2022, and made it through congress. However, now more people have begun to voice their concerns. Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, referred to a ban like this as being “little more than political theater” and then proceeded to say “we hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.” In addition, Mao Ning, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, responded to this motion by saying that the United States is “generalizing the concept of national security” and “unreasonably suppressing the enterprise of other countries.” 

The banning of Tik Tok has been attempted in previous years; in 2020, former President Trump issued executive orders to ban the app, however this attempt was stopped in court. As of right now, roughly half of the United States has partially or fully banned Tik Tok on government devices, and it is unclear whether Congress or the Biden administration will move to ban the app nationwide.