TikTok is a fast-growing, short-form video app that has taken over the internet. It could possibly shut down for privacy purposes.
The app is used by a large number of people including kids, families, celebrities and teenagers. TikTok is made up of a variety of different jokes, pranks, songs and skits. The app itself is a derivative of many other popular apps that are used for entertainment, including Vine, which was shut down in 2017.
TikTok was downloaded approximately 315 million times in the first three months of 2020.
“People should only use the app if you want your private information in the hand of the Chinese Communist Party,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week on Fox News.
Pompeo addressing these concerns shows growing tensions between the United States and China, which has been influenced by national security, trade and technology.
Two weeks ago, India announced it would ban TikTok and other Chinese apps because of fear the Chinese government could threaten their privacy.
As concerns rise, Wells Fargo, the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have told their employees to delete the social media app from their phones, according to CNN Business.
In a statement sent to The Information last week, it was stated that the company had identified a small number of employees with work phones who had the TikTok app installed.
"Due to concerns about TikTok's privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices," the statement said.
Both the Democratic and Republican national committees warned their employees about downloading the app on their phones due to security risks.
Kara Haueter, a resident of Apple Valley, Minnesota, has had a TikTok account since it was musical.ly with her family called the HaueterFamily. She is the mom of the family and has over 5 million followers who constantly watch their relatable and funny family-oriented videos.
Haueteur said she was concerned when she heard about the news TikTok may be banned and feared it will hurt her and her family’s brand.
“It’s going to affect me financially because my income is from that,” Haueter said. “I do a lot of advertising and stuff for people so it will cumulatively affect us, like 100 percent.”
Haueter said she feels like it is a violation of rights for the government to ban TikTok, and she said she does not believe the Chinese government wants to use personal information for bad purposes.
“I feel like this will not go down like a major fight, like this is a hundred billion dollar industry here," Haueter said. "I think worst case scenario in my opinion maybe there will be a blackout for a while, like I don’t think it’s going to go away forever."
Haueter plans on moving her TikTok followers to Instagram and YouTube when, or if, TikTok is officially banned.
TikTok’s response to the growing concerns from politicians of the app being tied to the Chinese government is that they are trying to make necessary changes so the app will have provided security.
According to the National Review, a spokesperson from TikTok made a statement addressing the issue.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S.,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. “We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
ByteDance is considering establishing a headquarters for TikTok outside of China or a new management team in order to cut ties.
TikTok has previously stated U.S. user information is not subject to Chinese law and the information stays inside the U.S. They have recently hired an executive from Disney to become its CEO.