Tik Tok. It’s Addictive, but Is It Safe?

We know you’ve heard about it by now. Tik Tok, an online social media platform for all ages to post videos of themselves dancing, talking, promoting items, or anything you can imagine; has faced a lot of controversies after Trump signed an executive order to ban the app. Why would the president of the United States want to get rid of a harmless social media app, and not focus on our global pandemic? We sent our High School writers to find out, and you’ll be surprised.

In the midst of a global pandemic, there is one thing Trump has been clear about. He wants Tik Tok out of the country. Tik Tok’s parent company, ByteDance, became the first privately held company to reach 100 billion dollars. Most of this revenue comes from Tik Tok ads. Like every app out there, Tik Tok collects data about you. They know what artists you like, what type of music you are into, your age, gender, etc. They only know as much as you tell them, so if you like all the videos about Hip Hop, they know you like Hip Hop the most, after their AI (Artificial Intelligence) can see that you liked Hip Hop videos 92% of the time, while you liked 4% country, and 1% Rap (as an example). After trial and error, of multiple categories, Tik Tok can accurately pinpoint exactly who you are, what you like, and nearly every characteristic about you (even things you don’t know about yourself).

I know most viewers are now thinking, “Let’s ban Tik Tok. They are stealing my information [or my children]. In a matter of fact, Tik Tok is only one of tens of thousands of companies, websites, and apps that do the same. Let’s take Google for example. Their parent company, Alphabet, owns Google Docs, Slides, Drive, and Google Photos. With that information alone, google now knows what you look like, what your mom looks like, what your dog looks like. In short, they know everything about you. But you as a consumer think that they are a big company, and take privacy seriously. But what you don’t know, is that Google will sell every piece of info they have about you, to absolute strangers. Ever wondered why you get such specific ads? Thank Google for that. Ever wonder why you get the exact dog food needed for the exact type of breed? Google can automatically determine the breed of your dog, without a real person looking at it. It’s called AI, otherwise known as Artificial Intelligence. Now, before you think that strangers know everything about you, there is some good news. They don’t physically sell your information. They just point relevant ads from businesses your way. So the business doesn’t know your information, but google sells them your information in a way that you see relevant ads, but the business does not see any information about you (until you click the ad).

Back to Tik Tok, they have a simpler version of this. They just point relevant ads towards you. Here is a video from Tik Tok, posted by a user, showing an accurate description and summary of my point:

@nickythomasalt

I hate it here ##tiktokbanned ##tiktokban ##gay ##politics ##facebook ##boomers

♬ original sound – nickythomasalt

There is no reason why Trump wants Tik Tok gone. Does he want the market to go up? Does he actually believe it’s a security vulnerability or a threat to national security?

TikTok has 100 million users in the United States. The company has explored selling its US business, which industry experts say is worth between $40 billion and $50 billion, to Microsoft and reportedly to Oracle as well.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/tech/tiktok-kevin-mayer-quits-hnk-intl/index.html

Tik Tok has easily dominated the social media market in the meantime, but despite its quick fame, Trump has issued an executive order to ban Tik Tok on September 20th, unless bought out by an American Company. This small time frame gives Tik Tok only 3 weeks to appeal and fight the decision in court.

Tik Tok has even gone to the extent of storing customers data in the US and Singapore, and openly denies giving information to the Chinese government, says CNN.

-Sebastian Morse and Carmen Ya’ira
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