TikTok Could Disappear but the Problems It Poses Remain

America is politically polarized. But there is an issue on which both sides agree: We need more privacy and TikTok should not be banned.

A record 72 percent of Americans want “more government regulation” of what companies can do with their data, according to an October report from Pew Research Center. And only 31 percent of Americans favor a nationwide ban on TikTok, according to a February Associated Press-NORC opinion poll.

Despite public sentiment, the U.S. House passed legislation on Wednesday by an overwhelming majority that could force TikTok to divest from control by its Chinese parent company or be banned. It’s fate in the Senate is not clear.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, and American lawmakers say they are pursuing a ban in the name of protecting U.S. data from the Chinese government. But lawmakers are not pursuing comprehensive federal privacy legislation that would protect Americans’ data across all the apps they use.

This is, sadly, just more evidence of how removed federal law-making has become from the will of the people. Issues with wide popular support such as abortion access and gun control remain unaddressed at the federal level. And a majority of Americans say that government policies do not reflect public opinion on key issues.

Despite this growing divide, it is truly stunning that lawmakers feel comfortable pushing a TikTok ban during a high-stakes election year. After all, one-third of U.S. adults say they use the site and one-third of U.S. adults under 30 say they regularly get their news on TikTok. Even President Biden, despite saying he would sign the ban into law if it made it to his desk, just started a TikTok channel for his re-election campaign.

Back to top button