Threats to shut down TikTok leaves Generation Z unbothered

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Josie Coulter, Reporter

  Conspiracies of surveillance and stealing personal information behind popular app, TikTok, strikes fear into the United States President, though Generation Z is unbothered. 

  As much as dances, cute animal videos, and funny jokes sound innocent. The United States President, Donald J Trump, is convinced that the app is being used for more than entertainment.

 Behind the app is a man named Zhang Yiming, a 37 year old self made billionaire, who has founded and is the executive chief of the company ByteDance. Rated number 61st in wealth, with a net worth of 16.2 billion by Forbes.

 ByteDance is the software company in China that supports the well known app TikTok. Though on August 6th, 2020 the United States President, Donald Trump, released an executive order to ban the app in the US. The fear of the technological presence of China in the United States and what the app may be capable of caused an uproar of concern in the White House. 

 “TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories,” Trump said. 

 Suspicion of the app began even before the Executive Order was placed, with claims that the foreign app was used for security breaches and spying on the United States population. 

 “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information— potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” Trump said. 

 Though the threats seem daunting and as though no one would want to be on the app, Generation Z (16-24 years olds) are unbothered by the allegations. With 69% of the apps users being between the ages of 16 and 24 and only 25% is older the Atlantic calculated. 

 “Those reasons didn’t really frighten me because I don’t have any super important information on the app,” sophomore Nataliey Hernandez said. 

 She and many others at Montrose High School continue to use the app, disregarding the warning. They can be seen scrolling through their phones at all points of the day and even find themselves distracted by the app. 

 “Yeah I open the app about six times a day and probably spend two hours on it a day,” Hernandez said.

 These habits can be categorized as unhealthy though when students heard about the ban some were not as shocked as others. 

 “It didn’t really worry me due to the fact that sometimes the app can be toxic and everything happens for a reason,” Hernandez said. 

  Though the information the President provided seems alarming and as though the advanced technology should not be accepted by the people in the US, but many may see the Executive Order to ban an app with a Chinese background as a skewed perspective from the President due to the power hungry race between the two countries dating back to the 1940s and the conflict in governing ideas. 

 The leaders behind the parent app behind TikTok, ByteDance, even offered to restrict use of the app a week prior to the order. 

 “Multiple reports surfaced Saturday [July 25, 2020] saying that Chinese parent company, ByteDance, has offered to completely divest its American operations for the app,” Ethan Millman, from The Rolling Stones news office said. 

 In addition to offering a complete pullback in the app Zhang Yiming hired American tech policy expert and Vice President head of US Public Policy Michael Beckerman to his team. 

 “Zhang also enlisted a host of impressive new hires to bolster confidence. In March TikTok brought on well connected Washington lobbyist Michael Beckerman to handle the likes of Howley,” Arsh Raziuddin, of The Atlantic post, said. 

 The app has no longer been threatened to be banned since last month when the large US software company Microsoft bought the app. Students at MHS and around the states continue to use the app and create content with little mind to what may or may not be behind the app. 

UPDATE: The app, TikTok, will be banned in the US and removed from GooglePlay and the Apple App Store on Sunday September 20th, 2020 sources say.