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TikTok ban would have real impact on local, regional businesses

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  • Staff Report 

TikTok, the social media platform that has taken the world by storm, is facing scrutiny in the United States due to alleged concerns over national security. The app, which boasts more than 150 million active users, has been a major force in the entertainment industry and has helped businesses to grow their online presence.

The app allows users to create, watch, and share videos ranging from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. Many businesses, including 210 Teas in downtown Syracuse, have leveraged the app to reach a wider audience. According to Kahssia Hills-Days, owner of 210 Teas, close to 100% of her following has been due to social media, and most of her marketing is done on social media.

However, the app’s parent company, Bytedance, a Chinese technology company, has raised concerns among lawmakers that the app may be collecting surveillance data, posing a threat to national security. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has called for the app to be banned, saying that TikTok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

TikTok CEO Shou Chew has testified before Congress, stating that the app does not collect any more data than any other social media app used by Americans, and that the company wants to reassure lawmakers that there will be no access by the Chinese government. Chew stated that “we will firewall protected U.S. data from unwanted foreign access” and that “the bottom line is this American data stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel.”

Despite these assurances, not all lawmakers believe the CEO’s testimony. Meanwhile, ordinary users of the app say they rely heavily on it for everything from entertainment to shopping recommendations.

The future of TikTok in the U.S. remains uncertain, but it is clear that the app’s millions of users are not ready to let it go. While some lawmakers are calling for a ban, others believe that there are other ways to protect data privacy without restricting access to a platform that has become a critical tool for many businesses and individuals alike.