Congress must ban TikTok. Only American companies can profit from my data.
I know the youths out there don’t want to hear it, but it’s time for America to ban the TikTok.
As a patriotic 50-something who, like most members of Congress, is deeply familiar with the internets and all the various online doodads and gadgets, I was thrilled to see Democratic and Republican lawmakers grilling TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew during a congressional hearing Thursday.
I despise TikTok and worry it might be influencing the way Americans think. I’m not sure why I hate it so much, to be honest. I just know that I’ve recently seen story after story after story about how bad TikTok is on Twitter and in my Facebook feed, so now I’m very angry about it and want it banned.
TikTok can't have my personal data. That's reserved for Facebook and Google!
The deeply held belief I’ve developed recently is that the video-sharing application, or “app” as the kids call it, is being used by the Chinese government to gather personal information about Americans. THAT IS AN OUTRAGE! (Hang on, I have to go post a photo of me being outraged on Instagram.)
Since when is it “O.K.” for a foreign-owned company to gather information about U.S. citizens? True patriots like me will only allow our personal data to be Hoovered up by trustworthy red-white-and-blue American companies like Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook. (One second, the Amazon Alexa machine heard me say “Hoover” and tried to order a vacuum cleaner.)
Should the US ban TikTok?: Here's why blocking it isn't a good idea.
TikTok might be used for propaganda, and my pro-Russia Twitter friends won't stand for that!
Anyway, the point here is that where I go, whom I communicate with and what I do online is between me Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and whoever owns Google, which is something I’ll have to Google right after I check out this adorable dog video Facebook is recommending I watch and … oh, I’m glad this ad popped up, I do need a remarkable new dog toy that doesn’t squeak, sold by a reputable Chinese company I’ve never heard of. Let me get my credit card.
A concern raised by lawmakers in Thursday’s hearing is that TikTok’s algorithm, designed to precisely tailor a person’s feed to their interests, might be used for nefarious purposes, like a propaganda campaign by the Chinese government.
I have a hard time believing Americans could be influenced by such a thing, but it’s something I’ll present to my “COVID-19 Vaccines Contain Microchips” Facebook group and some people I trust on Twitter who also believe the 2020 presidential election was rigged and Russian President Vladimir Putin is actually a great leader.
My privacy was violated on TikTok: A stranger filmed me without my consent and put it on TikTok. I stood up for myself – and won.
'Xenophobic showboating that does exactly nothing to protect anyone'
The bottom line is this: If I’m going to be brainwashed, it’s going to be by social media platforms based right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., as God intended.
An Associated Press story that doesn’t wholly confirm my biases somehow made it into my news feed, and I noted this quote from Evan Greer, director of the nonprofit advocacy group Fight for the Future: “If policymakers want to protect Americans from surveillance, they should advocate for a basic privacy law that bans all companies from collecting so much sensitive data about us in the first place, rather than engaging in what amounts to xenophobic showboating that does exactly nothing to protect anyone.”
Listen here, Evan. Go peddle your reasonable and well-thought-out points elsewhere. DISLIKE! DISLIKE! DISLIKE!
TikTok is a threat to all we hold dear, or so I was told on the internet
I, for one, will continue to encourage lawmakers to ban TikTok – and only TikTok – because, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I’m 100% convinced it poses an unparalleled risk to me, my family, my country and everyone I follow on Snapchat.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the credit card I used to purchase that no-squeak dog toy I read about on Facebook has been used to purchase $15,000 in clothes and Amazon’s at the front door with the vacuum I didn’t mean to order.
Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook facebook.com/RexIsAJerk
More from Rex Huppke:
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US must ban TikTok. Only Google, Facebook should get my data.