"Given the app’s use by about a third of the U.S. population and its association with the everyday expression of political and personal views..."
From "The Problem With Taking TikTok Away From Americans" by Glenn S. Gerstell (of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former general counsel of the National Security Agency and Central Security Service).
Now look here! We blithely allow Fox to spew disinformation and lies all to the detriment of our democracy and domestic peace yet the idea that China is using TikTok in order to do unto us as Fox does unto us is so alarming that an outright ban against TikTok is being contemplated. The hypocrisy is galling. Some may say well China is a foreign nation but that ignores the fact that Rupert Murdoch is a foreigner committed to his economic interest over the interests of the American people. Ban TikTok? Ban Fox network for the same reasons. Fox has demonstrably harmed America and continues actively doing so but what harm has TikTok done?
People aren't keeping the issues separate. The op-ed writer worries about taking personal information from users, but that commenter, Roberto, is worried about propaganda — that is, not what taken in, but what is put out.
And there's a third — completely different — concern, expressed by the commenter Chloe:
For me, the potential addictive quality of TikTok is at least as concerning as the points raised in this article. For many, it is difficult to regulate the amount of time spent on this application. From what I understand, TikTok’s algorithm—and similar iterations of it, as exist on platforms like YouTube and Instagram—is designed to keep users active for as long as possible, and can « learn » to pinpoint what kinds of videos keep one watching with ever-increasing accuracy. Willpower and self-control can only go so far when set against an algorithm that taps into our psychology and offers us content that, for many, is « too interesting » to resist. I believe that we need to seriously reflect on the place that we want such technologies to have in our lives—particularly in the lives of children and teenagers.
That is, it's not about the information TikTok takes from users or the propaganda its owners push at its users: it's the sheer mesmerizing effect of the overall experience of using this miraculously effective video experience.
Those who make other social media apps — and those who make conventional media (TV shows, movies, books, newspaper) — try as hard as they can to draw us in and keep us glued. They just haven't figured out how to do it as well as TikTok.
To ban only TikTok is like banning the Beatles or banning Brad Pitt.
I remember when Prince sang the line: "A body like yours oughta be in jail." He was kidding around, doing art, and I fully support his singing that. But only an oppressive political force would put a woman in prison for being so sexually attractive it was dangerous to onlookers. Are we to be deprived of the most desirable things?!