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[COMMENTARY] Trump’s Proposed Tiktok Ban Would Silence Black Lives Matter Movement, Young Voices

TikTok, a social media app with nearly one billion active users, is an epicenter for young voices to shed light on worldwide injustices. The Black Lives Matter hashtag had more than 4.9 billion views on TikTok, per CNN, as of only June 4.

No wonder President Donald Trump is trying to ban the app in America before the 2020 election.

While there are privacy concerns when it comes to TikTok and China, TikTok users have spread the word on many issues that mainstream media far too often neglects.

So let’s do something that Trump would hate. Give a spotlight to the people on TikTok that are trying to do good for the world and make it a better place for everyone.

Unusualbeing: 956k followers

bennett_kadi: 1.2 million views on the video below

the_savage_lokius: 215.8k followers

primetlme_jet: 77.8k followers

The Black Lives Matter movement is now the largest movement in the history of the United States.

“Four recent polls — including one released this week by Civis Analytics, a data science firm that works with businesses and Democratic campaigns — suggest that about 15 million to 26 million people in the United States have participated in demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and others in recent weeks,” said the New York Times. “These figures would make the recent protests the largest movement in the country’s history, according to interviews with scholars and crowd-counting experts.”


TikTok user forces school district to give teachers raise

Gillian Sullivan, in the video below, used TikTok to talk about her school district not giving its teachers raises.

SPOILER: She ended up getting the teachers a raise.

“I think my generation realizes that we have a voice, and none of us are really afraid to use it,” Sullivan said via the Cut. “The best thing I can say about my generation is that I don’t think there’s a lot that we fear.”


TikTok privacy and censorship concerns are fair, but let’s look at both sides of the debate

Despite the great deeds that Gen Z is doing on TikTok, there still remains a difficult debate on whether or not to ban the TikTok app. So, let’s look at it from both sides below.

Why should TikTok be deleted?

  • Data collection
    • aids in artificial intelligence software helping China beat the United States in the race to artificial intelligence
    • Data collection on a mass scale can be used to influence people’s behavior and influence elections or political sentiments
    • Look at how Facebook helped Cambridge Analytica help Donald Trump win the 2016 election
    • Our report that a political firm hired by the Trump campaign acquired access to private data on millions of Facebook users has sparked new questions about how the social media giant protects user information.” – New York Times
  • What does TikTok collect?
    • From BBC:
    • what videos are watched, commented on
    • location data
    • phone model and operating system
    • keystroke rhythms people exhibit
    • reads copy and paste clipboard
    • “Much of TikTok’s general collection is comparable to other data-hungry social networks such as Facebook”
  • Influence conversation on the app
    • The Chinese government could promote certain movements that are favorable to the Chinese government or any other political agendas and influence people (if they have app influence)
    • But let’s not act like bad information doesn’t spread like wildfire on Facebook too
  • Censorship
  • It is unclear the influence that the Chinese government has over ByteDance which owns TikTok
  • China has already been caught trying to spread disinformation on social media – New York Times tells you more here

Why should TikTok not be deleted?

  • Sets a bad precedent for censorship on social media
    • What apps in the future will be banned? Who will be banning those apps in the future?
  • Limits voices of the younger generation including progressive voices and minority voices since TikTok is a younger audience
  • China can already hack people’s information if they want to
    • “I find the data privacy issue to be a bit of a red herring,” says Jordan Schneider, host of the ChinaTalk podcast and newsletter. “The Chinese government has many likely more impactful ways of getting blackmail or corporate secrets or just general information about individual US nationals.” – Vox Media
  • While the app might help China gather data to build artificial intelligence, banning the app might negatively impact the United States’ ability to access international data which would, in turn, limit the United States’ ability to build a successful artificial intelligence software
    • If the United States bans TikTok then you could imagine a scenario where many other social media apps from America are banned in other countries limiting the United States’ ability to collect data and build better artificial intelligence themselves
  • Banning the app is an excuse for not finding a solution for data privacy that not only works for TikTok but other American tech giants like Facebook that abuse user data
    • Let’s not pretend TikTok will be the last social media controversy
    • Find a way to make TikTok secure so it not only fixes this one situation but future problems as well. Best to find a solution that doesn’t involve banning because that sets a scary precedent

TikTok says the data is kept separately away from Chinese influence (but they wouldn’t tell us the Chinese government was spying on the app it if it was).

DISCUSSION: Should TikTok be banned in the United States?

About Ryan Lipton

Ryan is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation’s Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league. Ryan is also a regular contributor to MeidasTouch.com

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