TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese multinational internet technology company headquartered in Beijing — and that fact is creating a lot of controversy.
In a recent poll, a majority of American voters (58%) supported the removal of TikTok from app stores after it was revealed that Americans' user data can be accessed by TikTok's Chinese employees.
A minority of voters (17.8%) oppose removing TikTok from app stores, and 23.6% are not sure.
A majority of independents (56.9%) and Republicans (76.8%) support removing TikTok from app stores, but only 39.2% of Democrats want the popular app to be removed from stores. Among Democrats, 25.1% oppose removing TikTok from app stores, and 35.7% are not sure.
The poll on TikTok was conducted by Convention of States Action in partnership with the Trafalgar Group. Surveys were conducted July 7-10 of more than 1,000 likely 2022 election voters.
TikTok users create short videos, often featuring music in the background, including short lip-sync videos to popular songs. Videos can be sped up, slowed down, or edited with a filter. The app has spawned numerous viral trends, internet celebrities, and music trends worldwide.
TikTok is available in over 150 countries, has more than 1 billion users, and has been downloaded over 200 million times in the United States alone.
ByteDance has been suspected of working with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to share and censor information. In June 2022, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr described ByteDance as "beholden" to the Chinese government and "required by law to comply with [Chinese government] surveillance demands."
Carr called for Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores.
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also called for an FCC investigation of TikTok and ByteDance.
"TikTok not only presents a grave national security threat to the United States, but research is also finding it is highly addictive and dangerous for young people," said Mark Meckler, a former CEO of Parler and president of Convention of States Action. "In addition, TikTok is run by ByteDance, a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party."
"A majority of voters agree that TikTok's digital warfare against the United States must be stopped and expect Washington, D.C. — which has the ability to do something about this right now — to take action now to protect our nation, rather than pandering to Chinese influence."
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