Among the many items hidden in the $1.7 trillion appropriation bill Congress is about to pass to fund the government next year, it’s a small victory for TikTok’s enemies. It should be removed if installed.

The move, championed by Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, is almost symbolic, as my colleague Sarah Morrison reported. We will not ban apps on employee phones,” she wrote. A small number of MPs, officials and interns may still be free to act.

The executive ban would be the latest win for a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have been critical of social platforms for their Chinese ownership and potential cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (when asking for user data). The Verge and New York Times reports earlier this year confirmed the concern by finding instances of ByteDance employees improperly accessing user data, including that of journalists. BuzzFeed’s investigation also found that a ByteDance China-based employee had access to “non-public data about her TikTok users in the United States.”

At the same time, this underscores the challenges faced by America’s (older) political class in trying to explain themselves to younger Americans (and future voters) if the momentum to crack down on TikTok grows. foresee.

Both Republicans and Democrats, especially in the Senate, have expressed skepticism that ByteDance, the China-based owner of TikTok, is or could remain independent of the Chinese government. increase. Propaganda and misinformation, especially to American audiences. Senators such as Virginia Senator Mark Warner (Democrat) and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (Republican) see the threat as a national security risk. Allow children to use the app.

Much of the concern rests with TikTok’s unique audience. More than two-thirds of her teens in the US use the app, and young people under the age of 30 make up more than one of her base of users, and can be found on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Reddit. Coincidentally, these people stand to form part of the majority of the new American electorate over the next decade.

This composition also puts American lawmakers and their eventual campaigns to the test. How do you explain to the millions of young people who use this app every day why you want to ban your favorite app? There’s a lot of discussion about how much users should care about things. Many conversations end with an agreement that privacy is valuable in exchange for app access, and offer suggestions on how to avoid potential bans.

“They don’t like other countries collecting our data, they just want American companies to collect data for their government,” said one reporter’s TikTok video explaining their efforts to ban TikTok. A comment I read.

“you should [be concerned] Look at what China is doing on tiktok.” Another conversation begins with a video discussing the ban. “Tell me what…they Google, [YouTube] And Facebook doesn’t,” another user replied.

How do we not only persuade younger users, but also reach a generation of people who already don’t trust governments, don’t feel connected to their elected representatives, and are deeply misunderstood by the political class? At the same time, it effectively eliminates one of the biggest measures. Reach these people where they are?

A blanket ban on TikTok in the US won’t happen anytime soon, but efforts to scrutinize ByteDance have accelerated this year, especially at the state level, where more than a dozen states have banned the app on government or public networks. doing. What started as Rubio’s solo effort to get federal agencies to investigate ByteDance’s acquisition of TikTok’s predecessor, Musical.ly, has gained support from members of both parties, both houses of Congress, and both houses of Congress. It developed into a concern with a partisan consensus. current presidential administration.

But there is an obvious problem here. TikTok is hugely popular among young people, and when Donald Trump last proposed a broader ban in 2020, the evidence and skepticism has mounted since then, but it hasn’t worked out for young people. Overall, the data privacy concerns raised by older politicians don’t seem to worry young people accustomed to being tracked and monitored. Especially his teens are very loyal to this app. Nearly 60% of teens report using the app daily, and about 1 in 6 he uses the app all the time during her day. Many teens say it’s hard to give up social media in general.

As the midterm ended, many candidates, political organizations, and youth voter advocacy groups at the federal and local levels depended on TikTok to reach millions of young people using the app. “As long as it’s a game, you have to be in the arena,” he told The Associated Press in September.TikTok helped his voter registration efforts reach tens of millions, he said. I was.

TikTok should also be the next frontier for candidates and campaigns to extend their reach to young people, said Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, vice president and co-founder of progressive group Way to Win. Told when I talked to her about lessons. The 2022 midterm elections offered to reach young voters.

“Young people get information in many different ways, so it’s important to actually reach out to them where they’re getting their information,” she said. A few politicians are already doing this, but young voter experts believe more outreach like this is needed. “By investing in social her influencers on the new media platform TikTok, we want to gain an audience and tell them things. We need to support,” she said Ancona.

Already in 2020 and 2022, Democrats such as Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke are using the app. to raise awareness, talk about parliamentary politics, and join trends popular with young people. Many of them benefited from that recognition at the ballot box, winning the majority of voters under the age of 30, the voter group with the lowest turnout, being loyal to parties and trusting politicians. Without tools like TikTok, it remains to be seen how future campaigns, advocacy groups and government leaders plan to reach these people.

Heading into a year of divided governments, tighter regulations and restrictions on TikTok may be one of the few policies moving forward with bipartisan support. would be wise.


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