Tik Tok: Musically Resurrected or Chinese Spy App?

Tik Tok's Chinese background has caused alarm in students and parents everywhere

Isaac Fishman, Reporter

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If you have browsed the app store or looked through articles online, you have probably seen the app Tik Tok. Tik Tok is an app that allows you to record a video yourself lip syncing to popular songs and dance or create stories from the music, in a time period of a minute or less. Released in September of 2016, it took over the previously shut-down Musical.ly from Live.ly and rebooted it to rebrand it under Tik Tok. It has become wildly successful in the past few months with some artists like Lil Nas X finding a following through the app. 

But what the droves of kids and adults on this app don’t realize is that Tik Tok is based in China. It has a clause in its terms and services agreement that allows the company to relay any information to the Chinese government. While people speculate how they actually use this clause, the pure existence of it has parents and kids worried.

Tik Tok, despite being a China-based company, doesn’t allow Chinese people to use it. It seems odd that a Chinese company is only marketing outside of China, especially since China has a much larger and untapped market. “I had no idea it was even based in China.” said sophomore Annika Case, “I just use it to watch my friend’s videos. They’re funny.” Most people like Annika go into the app without reading the terms and services. They don’t even know the possible implications of the behavior that Tik Tok has been accused of. Information and security is important, especially online, and on an app where your information and security is posting to try to get on the illustrious ‘for you’ page and become ‘famous,’ it’s vital to be more conscientious of what you’re posting.

Even though some may enjoy the posting and the platform that Tik Tok offers, it’s also important to know from whom you’re speaking speaking for. The problem with Tik Tok is not just on Tik Tok itself, but with Americans and American companies yielding to the will of China just for money. It’s a bad look for your investors to give money to a country who lies to and censors their people in all forms of media, as well as committing many questionable humanitarian decisions, like how they’re handling the riots in Hong Kong. People need to think about who they are giving money to before they give it blindly. 

Tik Tok is a fun and entertaining app, but the average Boise High student should be concerned with what they post on the site. Consider what you’re recording and what you’re saying before you press the post button. When you post something online, it never goes away, and when you post something on Tik Tok, China never lets it go away.