One of the major headlines that has been seen across the country has revolved around the recent topic of President Donald Trump threatening to ban TikTok in the United States. For some time now, Trump has been threatening to ban the very popular social media app unless the company is sold to an American company. TikTok is currently owned by the Chinese technology company, ByteDance. Trump, along with his administration, is strongly considering ways in which he can push the popular video sharing app out of the United States. Out of all of the social media apps I use, TikTok is by far the one I spend most time on daily.
Like many others my age, there are times when I have found myself sitting for hours on end just watching TikToks. The content seen on TikTok is not similar to most other social media apps, which is what draws me more and more into the app. The wide array of content seen on the app is what I believe makes it so entertaining, and almost addicting, to most teenagers and young adults. TikTok is a major platform that allows individuals to be creative through dancing, singing, storytelling, etc. For me, and most others, I know I will be so sad to see this popular app banned across the country.
According to an article from Brookings titled “Why is the Trump Administration Banning TikTok and WeChat?,” it appears that one of the primary reasons the Trump administration would like to ban TikTok, along with WeChat (another major Chinese app), is due to national security concerns. While there is no direct evidence that either of these apps breach the United States’ traditional issues of national security, it seems as though the concern is centered around data security and data privacy.
I found it very surprising that the Trump administration still wants to ban TikTok, even though there is no direct evidence of the app posing a threat to any national security. This left me wondering if this may not have been the real reason why Trump wants to ban TikTok. One of the big questions at stake regarding Trump’s desire to ban TikTok is whether or not he has the authority to do so. The short answer is that yes, he does in fact have the authority.
Recently, there have been people who have stepped up to keep an eye on the app’s community of creators, as well as the app’s users, as TikTok deals with the pressure from President Trump’s threats of banning the app. One woman in particular who has been concerned and paying close attention to what has been going on in the country with TikTok is 41-year-old Vanessa Pappas. Pappas is one of the top executives at TikTok’s North American business. She has been running the business for two years now. Pappas, along with the other executives, has recently started to grow worried.
On Aug. 1 of this year, Pappas recorded a one minute video of herself from home in response to Trump’s threat of banning the popular social media app. Pappas’ purpose of releasing this video was to put the creators and fans of TikTok at ease. Since then, Pappas has been put under even more pressure, as chief executive officer of TikTok, Kevin Mayer, announced last month that he was leaving the company. Upon Mayer’s announcement of his departure from the company, Pappas was appointed TikTok’s interim global head.
ByteDance is under a lot of pressure at the moment, as they must make and agree upon a deal to sell off TikTok’s United States operations by Sept. 20. Despite everything going on, Pappas has decided to not speak about the specifics of TikTok’s deal talks as she has not been involved in them. Pappas has instead decided to focus on what the future of TikTok may look like if the ownership is split amongst different people or companies.
It is very clear that Pappas has TikTok’s best interest at heart. In an article from The New York Times titled, “The Woman Taking Over TikTok at the Toughest Time,” Pappas expressed how she had been feeling by saying: “We’ve built this project for hundreds of millions of people, and we’re not looking for that to change.” Pappas has worked in the influencer world for a very long period of time, so she is familiar with, and understands, how social media works and what she needs to do in order to keep TikTok where it’s at now.
I believe that a deal will be worked out with the current situation of TikTok and that banning the app altogether is not necessary. While I do understand the concerns centered around not wanting millions of Americans dedicating so much attention to a Chinese-owned company, I do not think that is a valid enough reason for the app to be banned. Instead of banning the app, and blaming it on a national security issue, I think it would be just as beneficial for everyone if a deal was made where Chinese owned apps like TikTok could coexist with American democracy.
A suitable deal, or solution, that I think could be made is if ByteDance created more security on the app, as this would please Americans and allow for it to still be used in the United States. Many other major social media apps, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have also had their fair share of security issues, but never faced as severe of a backlash as TikTok. If those apps are able to remain in use by Americans, I do not see why TikTok can’t as well. Personally, I believe it all comes down to the fact that TikTok is a Chinese owned company and there are some Americans who do not like that.
The pressure is definitely on for Pappas, along with the other executives at TikTok, as the clock is ticking for ByteDance to strike a deal. With that being said, I think Pappas is the perfect person to have in charge of TikTok at the moment. I think that she will continue to support the creators and users of TikTok and will succeed in making sure TikTok does not get banned in the United States.