Friday, April 19, 2024

Time’s Up: 3 Reasons to Ditch TikTok

In 2022, President Joe Biden signed an act banning the use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on all federal government devices. But on Sunday, Biden’s presidential campaign shared a TikTok video on the platform. 

Biden appeared on the social media platform for the first time in a 27-second video answering a few questions about the Super Bowl.

At best, the Biden campaign’s decision to join TikTok sends a mixed message to the American people; at worst, it gives China more access to Americans’ data, including the president’s. 

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing and is subject to Chinese law that requires companies to make users’ data available to the Chinese Communist Party. That’s why Biden banned the app from federal government devices in the first place. 

According to a report released about a year ago by The Heritage Foundation’s Kara Frederick, director of its Tech Policy Center, “TikTok’s invasive data-collection practices include gathering users’ Global Positioning System (GPS) locations, Internet protocol (IP) addresses, content, contacts, images, microphone access (for “voiceprints”), and other biometric, personally identifiable, or device information.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The app’s “2023 Privacy Policy also includes admissions that TikTok collects the mobile carriers, time zone settings, models, networks, device identifiers, screen resolution, operating systems, app and file names and types, along with keystroke patterns or rhythms of its users,” Frederick says

But if China’s ability to access your personal data is not reason enough to ditch TikTok, its proven addictive nature might be. 

TikTok’s algorithm curates content for each individual user, which in turn keeps users coming back for more. But studies indicate the reasons TikTok, or any other social media platform, is addictive goes deeper. The Brown University School of Public Health says “likes” and comments on social media posts trigger a dopamine release in users that keep people coming back for more. 

And with active users spending an average of 90 minutes a day on TikTok, according to Frederick, the platform is not only stealing user dating and leading to addiction, it’s eating away at our time. 

Time is the great equalizer. Everyone, no matter how rich or poor, young or old, has 24 hours in a day. What we choose to do with the hours, or moments, of free time between work, school, family obligations, and so forth, is entirely up to us, and that’s a powerful gift. 

Why voluntarily give China access to your data, or enter into (or continue) an addictive relationship with a platform that’s devouring the resource of your time?

Wednesday kicked off the first day of Lent. What a good time to consider putting TikTok, or another addictive social media platform, on the shelf for the next 40 days and see what happens, and what you might able to accomplish with the time saved. 

On today’s episode of the “Problematic Women” podcast, we discuss why Americans should ditch TikTok. Plus, we share the latest news regarding the ongoing legal and political battle over the bodies of five aborted babies found in a box outside an abortion clinic in the District of Columbia.

Also, should your car be able to determine whether you are capable of driving? Some government officials think so. And as always, we’ll be crowning our “Problematic Woman of the Week.”

Hear the Problematic Women podcast here.