March 24, 2023

Many companies have expressed their desire to buy or buy a portion of the popular Chinese-made short video-sharing social media platform TikTok. 

President Donald J. Trump considered banning the platform in the United States altogether after security issues were brought into question, but he has since given his blessing to Microsoft to buy out the company, and Microsoft is well ahead of its competitors to buy the app.

Since TikTok was released in 2016, it has become extremely popular with teenagers and young adults. Students at CBU use the site to make funny short videos, watch ones others make and share them with their friends.

Kayla Schneider, junior liberal studies major, said she used TikTok a couple times a day for nine months, to watch funny videos and share it with her friends, until security concerns about privacy caused her to stop using it as much.

“It’s a really good source of entertainment,” Schneider said. “But I actually
stopped using it a lot because of the security concerns. It gave me a lot of stress, so I stopped.”

Schneider said that she thinks another company buying TikTok would be good, but that it might not eliminate all the security concerns.

“I think it is good that people are trying to buy (TikTok) because of the security concerns with the current owner, but I’m not sure how much it will go away, because most apps still collect basic information. So that’s pretty much a universal thing.”

Sophie Hepp, junior kinesiology major, had also been using TikTok for
nine months. 

“I use it once or twice a day,” Hepp said. “I use it mainly for watching—I don’t really create stuff on it.”

Although Hepp still uses TikTok, she also expressed concerns about privacy.

“I think it is a good idea (for another company to buy TikTok), but I
definitely think it might not eliminate (all the) concerns for security, because social media puts a lot out there. But I do think it’s a step in the right direction for it to be sold,” Hepp said.

Hepp said that despite the concerns, TikTok is “a fun app and a good way to waste our time.”

Marc Weniger, professor of business, said that TikTok probably does not collect any more information than other social media apps, and that it is a concern when an administration targets a particular company.

“If you say ‘this is the limit of personal information you can collect,’ and it goes to everybody — fine. That’s no problem,” Weniger said. “I have a problem with it when it’s like ‘that company can have it, but that company can’t have it,’ because if TikTok shouldn’t have it, then Facebook probably shouldn’t have it, either.”

“In general, it’s either information that they should have or shouldn’t have — it doesn’t matter who has it.” 

Weniger said he thinks a more blanket statement that applies to all similar apps is “by far a better policy.”

Privacy on social media apps has been a concern for a long time now with how much data these sites collect. TikTok is no different, and yet students are still willing to use the app despite these concerns, although some are more wary than others.

Microsoft is in the lead to buy the company,  and they are still in talks about it.

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