I deleted TikTok, here’s why you should too

Detainees in a Xinjiang, China Re-education Camp located in Lop County listen to de-radicalization talks.

Photo Courtesy of 牙生 / Wikipedia

Detainees in a Xinjiang, China Re-education Camp located in Lop County listen to “de-radicalization” talks.

By Meghan Lyons, Special Sections Editor

Over the last year or so, TikTok has become a global phenomenon, with users from all over the planet. The app is extremely popular among tweens, teenagers and college students. With quarantine measures in place, the app has only garnered more users. And it is not difficult to see the reason why it is so widely used: the app is programmed to get its users addicted. Why? The app shows you the videos you want to see through different algorithms. It is also super easy to become “TikTok famous.”

I guess you can consider me as a former TikTok addict. Before learning about its dark side, I would scroll through videos for hours on end. I even became hooked on the idea of getting famous and uploaded a few videos. I would constantly refresh the views, hoping that one of my videos would blow up. It became an unhealthy obsession. And I’m not alone; all my friends are absolutely glued to the app, trying to get that easy fame. This desire to have fame — it’s not normal. It’s not healthy. Adding to that, there have been a lot of concerns raised about Tiktok. So, I deleted it, and you should too. Here is why.

TikTok censors content.

If you did not already know, TikTok is not an American app. The app’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese video-sharing platform. Since it is owned by China, certain subjects are censored on the app. Any criticism of the Chinese government is immediately taken down. In the previous months, TikTok has received backlash for taking down videos discussing the Xinjiang detention camps. In these detention camps, millions of oppressed Uighur Muslims live in horrific conditions. China does not want the world to know about this atrocity. Even the language of the Uighur Muslims is suppressed on the app. 

TikTok discriminates.

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Late last year, TikTok had even confessed that it has suppressed videos from overweight, disabled and LGBT content creators.  The reasoning behind the platform’s actions is a new policy aimed to prevent cyberbullying to “vulnerable” users. The policy listed people with autism, disfigurements, Down syndrome and even people with “facial problems,” such as having a slight squint or birthmarks, as vulnerable users.  Moderators are more likely to delete videos from users with the listed characteristics.

Your own privacy is at risk.

In this day and age, nobody has the right to their own data. Almost every major social platform, such as Facebook or Instagram, has possession of your data. The same goes for TikTok, but user data might be used for something much more sinister. According to an article published by the MIT Technology review, experts fear that the data of young adults — even children — could be turned over to the Chinese Communist Party. The United States has even prompted a national security investigation into TikTok, with concerns for user’s privacy and the censorship of political content.

Meghan is a junior in LAS.

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