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TikTok is a social media application that has amassed over 100 million users in the United States. Yet the Biden White House, like the Trump Administration before it, seeks to ban TikTok, or at least force it’s divestment from the parent company, Bytedance. For many the question is how can an app for sharing silly dance videos among teenagers be a national security threat? Unfortunately, the problem is considerably more complex than this simple question. TikTok’s unprecedented success comes from its powerful artificial intelligence-based algorithm.
That activity produces a comprehensive psychological profile of each user and tailors the queue of forthcoming video selections based on that profile. TikTok’s highly personalized content keeps users engaged longer than other social media platforms. The app’s underlying algorithm understands the user’s moods, political leanings, even their level of loneliness. The U.S. government is concerned that a China-based company with comprehensive dossiers on millions of Americans presents a significant national security threat, one that potentially justifies banning the app completely.
TikTok, China, National Security, Social Media
Waters, Tom, "#1 on the U.S. Most Wanted List: Why the Push is on to Ban the World’s Most Successful Startup from Academic, Government and Military Devices in the United States" (2023). GNSI Publications. 2.