Ticking time bomb

United States faces growing concerns around the dangers of TikTok


Loading up a TikTok, junior Logan Moseley prepares to spend a couple of minutes at the end of class on his phone. On average, Moseley spends about four hours a day watching videos. “I personally don’t use the app on my own phone so I just watch Instagram reels instead,” Moseley said. “My thing is that I don’t need two apps for the same purpose, because I still watch all of the same videos.” Photo by Kelsey Nunnenkamp

Kelsey Nunnenkamp, Managing Editor

As of April 2023, TikTok CEO Shou Chew announced that the United States had surpassed over 150 million TikTok users, which is nearly half of the total population. Users from all over the country come together to connect, to create, to share, and to learn on one common platform. 

However, due to growing concerns regarding the safety of private user information TikTok as we know it may be coming to an end. This wouldn’t be the first sight of a ban of this nature as the United States has already banned TikTok from being used on all government devices. Officials say the ban is necessary due to national security concerns about the China-based owner of the app “ByteDance.”

This investigation has stalled as many share the common view that there are a lot of useful features that come from TikTok. With over 7,000 U.S. jobs and 33.2 million small businesses, it has proven to be a fan favorite that has captured all the attention in recent years, but how dangerous is this? 

“This app is genius in the way that it has successfully found a way to keep our generation hooked and continually coming back for more,” senior Macy Martin said. “If you were to ask where most students get their news, I guarantee more often than not the answer would be TikTok. This app has shifted a cultural reset where almost 100% of all trends, slang terms, and inside jokes are from one app, and that’s TikTok.”

Although the platform can be used to bring people together, the addictive nature of the never ending mindless scroll can become somewhat dangerous for some users. GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, the incoming chairman of a new House select committee on China, recently called TikTok “digital fentanyl” for supposedly having a “corrosive impact of constant social media use, particularly on young men and women here in America.”

“I deleted TikTok because I felt addicted and it was a waste of my time,” junior Brooklyn Bartlett said. “I found myself spending hours on end watching when I could have been doing something productive. I really do like the app but I just felt as though it would be better for me overall to delete it. At first I thought it would be hard, and at first it was because when I got on my phone I always wanted to log on. Now, TikTok doesn’t even cross my mind and I feel better that I deleted it.”

At this point in the investigation against TikTok, the government is at a stand still. The reality of a Federal ban on TikTok actually going through in a country like the U.S. is rare, but not impossible. The fall of this app would be completely dependent on something called the Restrict Act. This is a bill that would give the government the power to restrict or ban tech from companies based in countries deemed foreign adversaries. 

“Personally, I think TikTok is a terrible platform for anyone,” high school parent Jani Randall said. “It is a waste of time, and I am not comfortable with the lack of security of the content. That being said, I need to let my children decide this for themselves, and I cannot be everywhere in the world protecting them. I also realize the importance of fitting in at this age and not being the ‘outcast’ that is heavy handed by parents.”

Despite the ignorance most seem to have to the negative impact of TikTok, Montana is one major state that is making strides toward the end. Legislators approved a bill last month that would ban TikTok from being offered in the state in a 54-43 vote. The bill, SB 419, now goes to Montana Republican Governor Greg Gianforte for approval. 

As Montana users continue to anxiously follow along with the progression of this ban, the rest of the country tunes in to see what could potentially be the downfall of social media as it is known today.