Less Than 40% of Americans Want to Ban TikTok, New Survey Finds

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President Trump has threatened to jettison the popular video app because of national security concerns but lacks support

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Only 36% of Americans want to see TikTok banned from the U.S., according to new survey results released on Thursday. The results come as President Trump said he would ban the popular video app, which is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, next month if it’s unable to be sold to an American company. More than 30,400 people were polled as part of the survey from Piplsay, a market research firm. Most notably, the polling found a stark divide between what Millennials and Gen Z’ers felt about the potential ban, with 61% of Millennials polled saying they support banning TikTok, compared to 39% of Gen Z’ers. The polling results also standout after considering nearly three-quarters of Americans polled by Pew last month had a negative view of China, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite TikTok’s popularity, critics have grown increasingly concerned the app doubles as a data collection tool for China’s communist government. TikTok has denied ever sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out TikTok’s privacy policy explicitly says it “may share” user information “with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which, based on how companies operate in China, means data can be sent to government authorities. “It is important to note, this would be the case even if the privacy policy were not so honest. All Chinese Internet companies are compelled by the country’s National Intelligence Law to turn over any and all data that the government demands, and that power is not limited by China’s borders,” Thompson explained further. “Moreover, this requisition of data is not subject to warrants or courts, as is the case with U.S. government requests for data from Facebook or any other entity.” Along these lines, President Trump has said the app will be jettisoned from the U.S. on September 15th, barring a sale to a U.S. firm, due to national security concerns. Microsoft has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire the app’s U.S. operations. One Reddit user recently reverse-engineered TikTok to show what the app collects from its users — highlighting information Bytedance could be compelled to share with China’s government, based on the country’s laws.  The app collects a wide range of information from users, according to the independent review, including IP and MAC addresses, GPS location, and other apps that are installed on a user’s phone, among other data points. Piplsay’s survey found 40% of respondents agreed TikTok could pose a national security threat to Americans. Despite the concerns, though, only 11% of those polled said they’d stopped using TikTok due to security concerns.

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