The Dark Side of Tiktok

Exploring the birth and controversial existence of Tiktok.


Maddox Rosenberg

The Chinese government has close ties to Tiktok behind the scenes.

Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has never failed to cause its fair share of controversy. The creators of TikTok are a company called ByteDance, which is a data collection company that has ties to the Chinese Government. TikTok’s existence has caused a multitude of security threats, causing the US government to ban the app from being installed on government devices.

A recent bill was passed to do just that. Section 101 on page 2001, this ban is named the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act.” The act spells out what the ban means, or the “covered application,” meaning “TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited” (Sec. 102).

In 2019, the US government launched an investigation into the threat of national security imposed by TikTok. President Trump faced some backlash from angry users of the app when he pushed to ban TikTok on all devices in America.

On August 14, 2020, President Trump said there is “credible evidence that leads him to believe that ByteDance might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

One of the first apps that ByteDance produced was a news app called “Headlines”. ByteDance also expanded their company in 2016 to introduce ByteDance AI Lab, which uses AI to write news articles. This app was very regulated by the Chinese Government.

In 2018, ByteDance had two apps taken down by the Chinese Government, and after ByteDance promised to promote “socialist core values.” In April of 2022, the company promised to “report users’ content that goes against “official CCP history.” In November of 2022, due to Covid-19 protests, the Chinese Government required ByteDance to intensify their censorship.

ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese Government has been alarming to national security. If the US Government cannot have TikTok on their devices, why should we?

Having TikTok voluntarily gives your location, camera, microphone, keystrokes, photos, videos, contacts, and more to the Chinese Government.