TikTok stars ponder their future as a potential app ban looms

Technology

It seems that TikTok has not only gotten more popular throughout the pandemic, but more controversial as well. The social media app is now banned in India and it’s exiting business in Hong Kong.

This leaves popular creators caught in the middle.

“People are really just looking for some happiness right now,” said Nick Casas, a TikTok star who goes by the username NickandSienna on the site.

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Casas has over 11 million followers on TikTok. His channel features videos of him and his five year old daughter laughing, playing and of course, dancing.

“Wholesome, daddy-daughter content – that’s us,” explained Casas.

Casas said he is keeping up with news of a potential ban, but isn’t overly concerned since he does have a social media following on other platforms as well.

“If we can’t jump on there and make fun videos like we do just for fun, then that does kind of make me sad,” said Casas.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquareted in China.

“Lawmakers fear that they’re feeding American data, American user data and can sensor critical content that is coming for Beijing,” explained Maya Levine, a security expert at Check Point Software.

Teens are glued to the TikTok app, which offers endless clips of people often doing dance moves, humor and more.

“Bytedance, the parent company, they are an organization that is designed to collect data they want to form profiles on these users and they will take every opportunity that they can to enrich and get more and more data from the users,” said Levine.

TikTok, along with other popular apps, were recently caught snooping on users iPhone clipboards. Last year security researchers at Check Point Software found bugs that made it vulnerable to hackers. The issues have since been fixed.

In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson told me:

TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.

TikTok Spokesperson

As for Nick, he says he’ll keep an eye on developments but stay focused on his next upload.

“If it needs to kinda just be looked at for a quick second to make sure everything’s nice and safe, then that’s OK,” he concluded.

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