US-NEWS-TIKTOK-ACCOUNT-SIP

TikTok should be banned, and not because of the security threats.

President Donald Trump announced that he’ll ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. if an American company doesn't purchase the platform in the next month. While many argue this app poses a great threat to our national security, there are a few alternative reasons TikTok should be banned. 

TikTok is one of the most disgusting, embarrassing and unethical platforms being used in the U.S. relative to its size and popularity. In other words, there are many reasons why TikTok should be banned besides the complicated debate concerning national security circulating throughout our country. 

TikTok has a serious problem with pedophiles.

What makes TikTok unique is how it’s designed for users to only post short videos. This kind of media sharing by itself has a rather childish nature and has not surprisingly created an environment where most of the popular content is videos of singing, dancing and short comedy skits. It isn’t difficult to imagine the demographic who would most often participate in these activities online with their friends in a public way.

The user base of TikTok is heavily made up of children. Forty-one percent of users are aged 16 to 24, and despite this, there are still plenty of users under the age of 16, according to GlobalWebIndex.

Unfortunately, wherever there’s a large demographic of children, predators are sure to follow. TikTok has not only made it easy for child predators to privately message, groom and sexually abuse anyone they want, but it’s failed to stop them or take steps to solve the problem even after victims and evidence have been brought to the company’s attention. 

It’s one of the most unsafe social media networks for children, has failed to do anything about this issue and has truly earned itself the title of “playground for pedophiles,” or “predator magnet,” as it’s many times been called. 

TikTok is an embarrassment to professionals. 

Because of its significantly high popularity, adult users can be found in almost any profession — from medical doctors to police officers. Many of these professionals have made a habit of recording videos on the job or making videos off duty that are compromising to their position. 

For example, a few medical professionals on TikTok made incredibly distasteful videos — during the pandemic no less — revolving around jokes making fun of suffering patients. In another situation, Fresno airport employees posted a video dancing around on the job instead of working. Most recently, a Harvard graduate made a video threatening to stab supporters of the “All Lives Matter” movement and was fired from her “dream job” at Deloitte. 

Perhaps these were all meant to be harmless jokes, but that’s no excuse for such embarrassing behavior that professionals should know is seriously inappropriate. 

TikTok has a problem with unethical censorship.

Being a Chinese company, TikTok loves to exercise its ability to silence or suppress any voices it dislikes. It’s widely believed that content related to the protests in Hong Kong are marked as a “violation” and censored from the site. Information has come out showing that TikTok has numerous rules to suppress any content that criticizes policies, rules or social systems of any country. 

Advocacy for social issues today is largely organized and promoted through social media. TikTok having the ability to silence anyone critical of China or other nations possibly acting in a way that would draw criticism should be concerning to those who care about the well-being of others. 

TikTok has also been discovered to participate in an entirely different kind of unethical censorship, with actual policies to suppress the content of people appearing to be “ugly, overweight, disabled or poor.”

If not for the threat to national security, TikTok should be banned in the U.S. for these reasons and others that make it one of the most poisonous social media networks in the world for the citizens of our country. 

Evan Holden is a sophomore political science major. Contact Evan at holdened@dukes.jmu.edu.