What The Tech: Tiktok Ban
CHARLOTTE, NC — FCC Commissioner Brenden Carr is calling for a U.S. ban on the popular app TikTok over concerns its company, ByteDance, shares information with the Chinese government. Carr makes the claim the social media app is a national security risk because of the possibility that the personal information of the people using the app can fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
If this sounds familiar, another ban was called for by former President Donald Trump before he left office.
ByteDance is a Chinese company though it states none of the information gathered by the app is stored in China.
“You have to consider the ‘what if’s. What are the possibilities,” says Matt Lourens, a cyber tech expert with the company Check Point Software which looked into concerns about the app back in 2020.
“If that information or data is leaked to the wrong parties, it could be used for targeted attacks, so am I concerned about that? Absolutely”.
Targeted attacks could push a political agenda on the millions of people who use the app. According to a study by Pew Research Center just a month ago, 26% of Americans under the age of 30, get their news from TikTok.
The concern is if the Chinese government should want to interfere with U.S. politics, it could easily be done by promoting content to sway users. Similar to what happened when Russia interfered with the 2016 election using fake Facebook accounts.
But what are the chances TikTok will be banned? Lourens said that will be tricky
“Unless it becomes a law that it isn’t allowed, Apple nor Google will eliminate it from their app stores and I don’t see that happening.”