Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Potential TikTok Ban Elicits Mixed Reactions from Rio Students

While some welcomed the possible ban of the popular app, many students were opposed to the House bill
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Teens may be the largest demographic group of TikTok’s 150 million American users, but Rio Americano students were divided over a bill passed by the US House of Representatives that could lead to an essential ban on the app. 

The House passed a bill with broad bipartisan support on March 13 that will force TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app to a non-Chinese company within six months or risk a ban on selling or updating the app in app stores. The bill now moves to the Senate, and President Joe Biden said he would sign it into law if it makes it to his desk. 

The bill unleashed harsh criticism as creators and users feared their accounts—and, in some cases, their livelihoods—would be disabled as the app was removed.

Senior Bella Simmons, who has more than 100,000 followers on TikTok and 20,000 on Instagram, said she would be disappointed if TikTok was removed.

“I do not support the removal of TikTok, but if it happens I will be sad, mad, and hurt and miss my over 100,000 supporters,” Simmons said. “Tiktok is a fun and safe place for people to dance, sing, share their stories, and connect with others. Taking that away from millions of people is not the right move.”

Although Simmons has decided not to monetize her account, some students were concerned about the financial hit to creators.

“I agree (that banning TikTok) is violating people’s speech rights and harming those who make money because there are so many businesses going on that app that it would basically take someone’s job away.” said senior Andrew Gross. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said they have reason to believe that TikTok could turn Americans’ data over to the Chinese government, which could use the information to sway Americans’ political opinions. The data might include location information, travel history, search history and private messages.

Junior Lincoln Dorway agrees that national security is the most important concern. 

“I think that if the app is harming US security then it must be banned as soon as possible,” Dorway said.  “If the app’s security can be ensured then there is no need to ban it because some people rely on it to make ends meet.

Simmons noted that by signing up, users were accepting the data risks associated with using the app–same as with other social media apps–something she was fully aware of.

TikTok has disputed all claims of affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party and said they take appropriate measures to keep users’ data secure.

Other students said they oppose the bill because the government has not shown evidence of security breaches. 

I think that there needs to be much more hard evidence that TikTok is stealing our data, and even if they are, what are they going to do with the likes and dislikes of millions of teenagers?” junior Gabe Bond said.

However, some students welcomed the possibility of banning TikTok, which they see as posing a security risk and possibly harming mental health.TikTok provides short-form content, usually less than a minute long. Supporters of a ban have pointed to other short-form alternatives such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels as a replacement for TikTok should it be banned from app stores.

The concern is for American safety,” sophomore Kendall Carey said. “Freedom of speech can be displayed on other platforms that are safer for U.S. citizens. People use this ‘concern’ as a way to hide the fact of addiction. Refusing to see the true harms of social media to not only oneself but to a country, is dangerous.”

 TikTok has been known to spread inappropriate or violent trends, some students reported.

“There’s been a few issues with trends that have come up that lead people to stealing cars and smashing boats, so it promotes dangerous ideas,” freshman Lauren Peterson said. “At the same time, there’s a lot of good communities on there that I think should be facilitated.”

However, junior Karina Brown said she thought Congress had other motives in proposing the ban.

“I think taking down the platform definitely does violate free speech, Brown said. “For one, it’s likely the House of Representatives is trying to ban TikTok to stop the spread of political ideas, the most relevant currently being the pro-Palestine content on the app. The worry about Chinese propaganda being spread on TikTok also isn’t very fair as American propaganda can be spread everywhere else by American companies. 

TikTok is undeniably popular with teens. According to a poll by the Pew Research Center released in December, 63% of teens said they used TikTok making it the second most popular social media site behind YouTube, which 93% of teens said they use. Seventeen percent of teens reported using TikTok almost constantly, compared to 16% for YouTube, 14% for Snapchat and 8% for Instagram.

Despite the reach of the app, students like junior Sam Taddess, think congress has more important issues to tackle.

“There are so many other issues in the world that we could be focusing on, and yet we’re here trying to ban a platform that supports everyone,” Taddess said.

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  • NPApr 14, 2024 at 5:48 PM

    I personally don’t think that tiktok should be banned like many of the students in this article. However I also think that if tiktok was banned people would just use other social media apps more.

    Reply
  • Evan NguyenApr 13, 2024 at 1:47 PM

    I do not use TikTok myself, but many people use it daily. If TikTok were to be removed, many people would just seek out a similar app with short-form content such as Instagram. However, I do think that many people can benefit from avoiding TikTok than they think, and a ban on the app might just change that.

    Reply
  • Daphne PannellApr 12, 2024 at 5:38 PM

    I agree with some of the students in this article and don’t think TikTok should be banned. While there are some negative aspects to TikTok, a lot of the criticisms of it doesn’t make sense when there are so many other social media platforms just like TikTok.

    Reply
  • ASApr 11, 2024 at 8:22 PM

    TikTok is a platform for millions of people to express themselves through short funny and emotional videos. TikTok should not be banned because many students use it for help, finding reviews, and connecting with others. If the problem of ‘addiction’ students have towards TikTok is the main cause for the banning, these students will just find a new app to get ‘addicted’ to.

    Reply
  • Logan HenningsenApr 11, 2024 at 11:48 AM

    Personally, I do not use TikTok and I would not miss it if it disappeared tomorrow. But, I do know that there are thousands of students that are addicted to TikTok. For the sake of their lifestyle and potential, I think a ban of TikTok would be more beneficial than some might think.

    Reply
  • JuneApr 11, 2024 at 10:39 AM

    I don’t think TikTok should be banned. As other students have said, more hard evidence should be needed to know for sure information is being stolen. I’m sure many students globally rely on TikTok for different reasons so it should not be banned.

    Reply