The implications of banning a platform loved by 150 million Americans was not mentioned, a TikTok spokesperson was quoted complaining after the more than four hour long US congressional hearing of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. The US administration wants the Chinese owned site to sell its in the US successful service or face the risk of being banned. Background is worries about data security. With presidential elections coming up next year, US politicians should for sure be aware of TikTok’s total reach of voters in the US.
No more critical voices about a possible ban have been heard from US media as most social media competitors already have copied the TikTok-concept. A ban would free market shares for its competitors. It has been estimated that especially Meta, Google and Snap would benefit from TikTok disappearing from the US market.
Governments, the EU Commission and media companies like the BBC have instructed their staffers not to have TikTok on their business phones referring to the risk that the Chinese owned company can be forced to give user data to Chinese authorities.
TikTok is available in over 150 countries, has over 1 billion users, and says it has 150 million monthly active users there, which is up from the 100 million figure it published in August 2020.
Both Republicans and Democrats showed distrust and scepticism during the hearing and Republican Buddy Carter said: “Welcome to the most bipartisan committee in Congress”. The participants seemed to agree that TikTok is a security threat.
Pew research centre has found that a small but growing number of US adults are getting their news regularly on TikTok, even as news consumption on other social media platforms stagnates or declines.
“In just two years, the share of US adults who say they regularly get news from TikTok has roughly tripled, from 3% in 2020 to 10% in 2022”, the Pew research report says.
“The video-sharing platform has reported high earnings the past year and has become especially popular among teens – two-thirds of whom report using it in some way – as well as young adults.”
“Adults under 30 are the most likely group to say they regularly get news on TikTok. About a quarter of Americans in this age group (26%) say they regularly get news there, higher than in 2021 and 2020. This compares with 10% of those ages 30 to 49, 4% of those 50 to 64 and just 1% of those 65 and older.”