A month-old video by Republican Senator Josh Hawley has been doing the rounds on social media, prompting the hashtag Ban TikTokIndia to trend on social media.
In the video, Senator Hawley has said that he plans on introducing a legislation to ban the popular Chinese social media app TikTok, which is owned by Bytdance, on all government devices.
The reason, he says, is because of an statement allegedly released by TikTok that says, “We collect information about the device you use to access the Platform, including the IP address, unique device identifiers, model of your device, your mobile carrier, time zone setting, screen resolution, operating system, app and file names and types, key-stroke patterns or rhythm patterns.”
The video has since gone viral in India, with fears that Beijing will have all our data.
Notably, in 2019 TikTok amassed a total of 740 million downloads in 2019, dethroning Facebook to become the second most downloaded app that year. India accounted for 277.6 million of these downloads.
However, TikTok isn’t the only social media app that tracks you. Facebook will only give you access to use the app if you agree to the terms and conditions. People normally willingly hand over their data for every like, every location check-in, friends/followers, all messages you send privately to friends/followers, as well as your search history. A Business Insider article even suggested that Facebook could monitor the user’s internet activity even when the person is not logged into the site.
And while #BanTikTokIndia is probably trending because of how the world is looking at China today, it’s fair to say that all social media apps have the same feature and we are guilty of voluntarily sharing our data.