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Why Banning TikTok is the Least of Our Worries

By Melissa Lipari

On August 3rd, Trump threatened to ban the wildly popular video-sharing app called TikTok. On August 4th, there was a major explosion in Beirut, killing a minimum of 220 people, causing 7,000 injuries, leaving 300,000 people homeless, and creating $10-15 billion dollars in damage. On August 6th, an executive order was signed to ban all U.S. transactions with TikTok. On August 6th, TikTok was declared a “national emergency” due to privacy concerns against China, disputing the International Emergency Powers Act or IEEPA. Trump offered his sympathy and called the explosion in Lebanon an “attack” that same day. See the problem with this?

Our world has been suffering from major social and political justice issues lately, whether it was the explosion in Lebanon or the ongoing violence against women in Turkey. Yet, a large percentage of what the president is choosing to focus on at the moment, revolves around the “threat” that we are receiving from TikTok - an app created by a country that he has slandered a number of times. A clear example of his hatred towards China was made when he ignorantly called COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus.” This one comment caused thousands to stop eating Chinese takeout and stopped many from purchasing products that came from China, in fear of contracting the virus - when in reality, the virus can be caught inside our own borders.

 His argument is that a breach in security has been made from China, by utilizing TikTok to spy on Americans. Yet, Facebook was under fire for granting personal information about users (just a few months ago) to Russia. Where was the national emergency in this instance? Is it because Trump has a political relationship with the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin? It all seems very strange to wage war on an app, when there are hundreds of other global issues that are occurring right under our noses. Especially, when there is no proof that TikTok is being utilized to sell personal information about U.S. citizens. But, right now, an app is more important than the lives of our allies in other countries.

On a global scale, there are so many injustices that are taking place, but that is not to say that the U.S. has been in great shape either. For starters, we have yet to get a hold on COVID-19 after being on serious lockdown restrictions since March. During this time, either countries have recovered from COVID spikes or are on the upswing towards conquering the virus. The U.S. on the other hand, is in a constant battle with cases lowering steadily, until a spike suddenly surges again. But, right now, an app is more important than the lives of U.S. citizens.

It has been over 100 days since Breonna Taylor was killed by police while she was asleep. There has not been a single arrest towards her case. The black community has faced major racial inequalities and systematic racism in this country for centuries, yet the brutality continues. “Blue Lives Matter” is still a slogan that is being utilized as innocent black men, women, and children lose their lives. But, right now, an app is more important than the lives of Black Americans.

If we think about everything that has been circulating through the news in 2020, can we honestly say that an app filled with teenagers dancing to popular songs is more dangerous than what we are experiencing right now? Banning TikTok is the least of our worries when the state of our country and other nations around the globe, are in an economic, social, and political crisis. Who cares about our information being “stolen” when Facebook is still up and running, filled with MAGA hat-wearing and gun-toting individuals, as if their information was not hacked already? This is no longer an issue about what is a threat to the U.S., it is about what is a threat to Trump and his rhetoric.


Looking for some ways to help our global and domestic issues? Here are five places to donate to now that need our help:

  1. UNFPA Turkey
  2. Doctors without Borders
  3. Save The Children Lebanon
  4. MATW Project
  5. Turkish Women’s Initiative 

References

https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/10/21358505/trump-tiktok-wechat-tencent-bytedance-china-ban-executive-order-legal-sanctions-rules

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/04/politics/defense-officials-contradict-trump-beirut/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/23/turkey-outrage-rising-violence-against-women

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/09/russia-is-actively-helping-trump-again/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Beirut_explosions

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/ieepa.pdf

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-says-stop-politicizing-covid-19-right-before-blaming-china-2020-8

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/11/facebook-reportedly-allowed-russian-company-access-to-user-data-beyond.html#:~:text=Facebook%20granted%20a%20Russian%20company,collection%20extension%2C%20CNN%20reported%20Tuesday.&text=The%20company%20told%20CNN%20that,of%20the%20Cambridge%20Analytica%20scandal.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/10/breonna-taylor-killing-officers-may-never-be-arrested

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