Tom Cotton’s Opinion on TikTok


AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Tom Cotton believes that TikTok is a risk to the users.

Troy S., Writer

TikTok is a popular app among people of all ages, though it’s audience mostly consists of teens. Signing in requires four simple steps: adding a phone number/ email, birthdate, and a username and password, before consenting to a list of terms and conditions. Despite the easy setup, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, is holding much more of your personal information.

At first, that might not seem like a big deal. However, ByteDance retains an alarming amount of user history that you may be unaware of. ByteDance can find and hold on to your IP address, social security number, full name and age, as well as what a user is searching for or tapping on. The company also has access to your facial recognition as well as your camera roll and history. That’s personal, and it’s too much. 

Simply put, your information can be given away or used against you in the future.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, Tom Cotton, a US senator from Arkansas raised multiple concerns against TikTok in July and again in November, addressing China and Chinese immigration scams as well as the country’s attempts at espionage.

“Data can be used against our kids as they grow up, and not just kids obviously. Grown-ups use it too. I think, increasingly, people in Washington are using it to try and reach voters, and communicate. That means they are being exposed as well,” said Cotton.

One of Cotton’s concerns has to do with your educational future. According to an article on EdWeek, colleges find that there has been an increase in application rejections due to digital footprints.

Cotton said that the app “Exposes all of your personal data, perhaps all of the data that you have on your device, to collection and exploitation. It’s not like if your 15-year-old daughter is watching videos of drum major routines that that’s going to put her at risk. But if it accesses every bit of other information on her phone, then that can put her at risk.”And it puts her at risk for the rest of her life. This data doesn’t just disappear. It’s collected in troves,”

Yet few people have deleted Tiktok, regardless of the app’s risk, probably due to its addictive nature. When you open TikTok, it’s unnatural to search for a specific video to watch. Instead, you probably start scrolling endlessly. According to the average viewer sticks around for 95 minutes. Crazy. 

The topic has been discussed for years and appears like the conversation will continue without much of a result. Almost every year, senators consider banning TikTok. Will they take action?