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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: No way TikTok is our biggest concern right now

Preston Caylor

For the umpteenth time, the rumor has begun that TikTok will be blocked for Americans by the U.S. government. This time, though, the rumor could actually come true.

On March 13, 2024, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that could cause a ban on TikTok in America. They argue that the content gathered from American citizens could be leaked to the Chinese government through ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. The bill would push TikTok to move away from ByteDance. If TikTok fails to do so, the app would be banned for Americans in approximately five months. 

What confuses me most about this entire situation is the fact that before becoming TikTok, it was Musical.ly, and no one seemed to have an issue with the app then. While Musical.ly was not originally owned by ByteDance, it was bought out by it in 2017.

While I understand the fear surrounding data leaks, this is something we, as a society, are forced to deal with. Data mining is incredibly common on apps in order to give the “best customer experience,” as well as scams that steal information that can come from a sketchy website, whether that be a singular link on Facebook, or a message in an online gaming world. (I’m looking at you, “MovieStarPlanet,” you know what you did.) 

Everything related to technology in our world is tracking you. If you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home in your house, I am not fully sure why you would even be concerned about TikTok. At any point, someone’s information could be leaked from the multitude of technologies we use each day, even down to the computer I am typing this on. So, as long as you look over your terms of service and understand what you are signing over, it is no different than any other app. 

A common argument is that users are willingly giving away too much information on “American life” through TikToks. To me, and most of the people I know that are on the app, it’s just stock-full of dumb videos, ranging from dancing trends to nonsensical jokes. These do not really seem like the best place to receive information on the “American people,” at least not in any useful way, and definitely not any information that isn’t readily available elsewhere. 

There’s also countless content from creators outside of the U.S., so by this logic would it mean America could learn about other people’s way of life through the app? Anyone can see the same videos on TikTok, so I personally do not understand how we are “giving away” our day-to-day life. 

As someone who grew up in a family that was skeptical of the app — and they still are — I have had many conversations over the validity and ideals surrounding TikTok and if it is safe for me to get it. In fact, I did not actually download the app until I was 18. 

Social media, in general, can be dangerous, and should be taken seriously, but with everything happening in the world, this doesn’t really seem to be something we should be putting all of our energy in. A social media app is the least of our concerns at this point, and if we really want to argue against its use, maybe we should provide more education on how to combat the dangers or make it harder for minors to download the app. 

Banning TikTok nationwide might end fear surrounding this data leak, but what about the millions of others that exist in every corner of the internet? 

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About the Contributors
Makenzie Miller
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.
Preston Caylor
Preston Caylor, Illustrator/Designer
Preston Caylor is a freshman at Wichita State majoring in animation, and this is his first year on staff at The Sunflower. Caylor grew up in Wichita and has always been fond of drawing, animation and music. In the future, he plans on making his way to a big animation company such as Disney or Pixar to either be an animator or animation director. Fun Fact: Caylor plays eight instruments: guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, horn, trumpet, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone. Caylor uses he/him pronouns.

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