A recent survey conducted by Reuters/Ipsos sheds light on American sentiments toward the potential banning of the Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok. The survey, which also delved into concerns about national security and China, aimed to gauge public opinion on this widely used platform.
TikTok, owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, is popular among tens of millions of Americans. However, it has faced scrutiny from US lawmakers due to worries about possible influence from the Chinese government.
The survey’s findings indicate that nearly half of American adults, about 47 percent, expressed support for banning TikTok’s use in the United States. In contrast, 36 percent opposed a ban, and 17 percent were unsure about their stance. Notably, this perspective was not divided solely along political lines; 58 percent of Republicans favored a ban, while 47 percent of Democrats held the same view.
The survey also highlighted deep-seated concerns among Americans regarding China’s global influence. These concerns emerge at a time when US-China relations are at their lowest point in decades.
The online survey gathered responses from 1,005 adults across the nation, including 443 Democrats and 346 Republicans. The survey’s margin of error, a measure of accuracy, was approximately 4 percentage points in either direction.
FBI Director Christopher Wray voiced potential concerns in March, suggesting that China could potentially exploit TikTok to control software on countless devices and manipulate narratives to create divisions among Americans. Other high-ranking US intelligence officials, such as CIA Director William Burns, have echoed these apprehensions.
TikTok, on the other hand, emphasized its positive contributions. The platform shared that over 150 million Americans, including 5 million US businesses, actively use TikTok for education, livelihood, and community engagement. A TikTok spokesperson assured that the platform prioritizes safeguarding user data and endeavors to provide a secure and inclusive environment.
Despite discussions in Congress about granting new powers to the Biden administration for a potential TikTok ban, progress has stalled. The matter could potentially feature in the 2024 US presidential campaign, with some candidates advocating for a TikTok ban. While former President Donald Trump attempted to restrict new TikTok downloads in 2020, legal challenges prevented the ban from taking effect.
Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis expressed his support for a form of national TikTok ban, adding an intriguing twist to the ongoing dialogue.