Targeting TikTok’s privacy alone misses a larger issue: Chinese state control

If you or someone you know has access to a smartphone, chances are you have at least heard of TikTok—the wildly popular platform that filled the void left by Vine back in 2016, usurping SnapChat and Twitter in the process, and which allows users to create ephemeral video content for the internet that covers everything from dragging pop stars to reenacting world history to offering disquieting glimpses into the lives of its predominantly teenaged users.

As TikTok’s popularity has exploded worldwide, we’ve also found ourselves contemplating some big questions.

For one, users and governments alike are concerned that the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is susceptible to Beijing’s censorship. This perception may be an internal concern as well, given recent news that the company is seeking a new CEO to run TikTok from the US, leading some to speculate it’s  an attempt to distance the platform from the Chinese government.

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