Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

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Banning TikTok Is Necessary for Our Safety

(Artwork/Em Gao 27)
(Artwork/Em Gao ’27)

By a vote of 352-65, on March 13, the House of Representatives passed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act”, a bill that could ultimately ban TikTok. The bill dictates that if TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, does not sell its stake in the app to an American-owned company in the next six months, TikTok will no longer be available on U.S. app stores or web-hosting services.

The primary argument for banning TikTok is the threat it poses to America’s national security. By law, all China-based companies must share collected data with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Chinese government. U.S. politicians and lawmakers are debating whether regulations surrounding TikTok need to be set to ensure the safety of American data. An anonymous freshman said, “China could get information from us and even use it to manipulate American citizens.” This notion has held true in other nations, such as Taiwan. In 2024, China incentivized Taiwanese TikTok creators to spread disinformation concerning Taiwanese elections and political campaigns. Not only that, but they have used individualized third-party data to send micro-targeted messages to specific users. Taiwanese researchers also say China could be using these techniques on the American public in order to discourage U.S. government and military supporters.

Another important rationale is that TikTok is a catalyst for the spread of misinformation to the adolescents and youth of the U.S. Opponents of the TikTok ban maintain the perspective that the app is an accessible news source for American youth, but it actually widens the reach of unreliable, uncorroborated news sources. According to a 2022 research report, over 20% of the content on TikTok is misinformation. Sophomore Ishnoor Kaur said, “I believe [TikTok] can be used to spread information about important social issues, but some of these claims are misinformed and cause people to take dangerous actions.” To further the issue, TikTok has been known for the promotion of high-risk challenges and trends. For example, the 2018 tide-pod challenge, in which creators consumed packets of laundry detergent composed of toxic chemicals, resulted in at least six deaths. Users also participated in the “Coronavirus challenge,” where they engaged in competition to contract the COVID-19 virus by licking public toilets, bus station handles, and items in stores. 

Although the TikTok ban is awaiting signature by the executive branch, it is an imperative step in addressing the state of our nation. The very integrity of the United States’ security is at risk, and the news source our generation and school community use is one that is potentially detrimental to our social awareness as well as our physical well being. 

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