TikTok users alarmed by security, surveillance fears

TikTok users alarmed by security, surveillance fears

NEW YORK - Hundreds of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are warnings about security breaches and possible Chinese surveillance.

Some 150 million TikTok users in the US want to be able to watch short, fun videos offering makeup tutorials and cooking lessons, among other things.

The disconnect illustrates the uphill battle that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle face in trying to convince the public that China could use TikTok as a weapon against the American people. Many users of the platform are worried about the possibility that the government will take away their favourite app.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said at a nearly six-hour congressional hearing on March 23 that the platform has never turned over user data to the Chinese government, and wouldn't do so if asked.

However, the FBI, the FBI and other agencies are concerned with Chinese law that compels Chinese companies like TikTok's parent company ByteDance to fork over data to the government for whatever purposes it deems to involve national security. There is concern that Beijing might try to push pro-China narratives or misinformation through the platform.

I want to say this to all the teenagers out there, and TikTok influencers who think we are old and out of touch and don't know what we're talking about, trying to take your favourite app, said Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw during the hearing. You may not care that your data is being accessed now, but you will be there one day. Many TikTok users reacted to the hearing by posting videos critical of lawmakers who grilled Chew and cut him off from speaking. Some lawmakers and the Biden administration have threatened to make the biggest scam of the year, due to a potential TikTok ban. Other tech rivals, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, blamed the surge of scrutiny on the platform.

There was a fear of possible Chinese surveillance or security breaches that lawmakers continue to amplify as they look to rein in TikTok.