TikTok's never-ending tryst with flaks and criticisms

TikTok logo. YouTube grab

TikTok, the social media application, where millions of people around the world create and share short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos has been in the news for all wrong things since its launch in 2017.
Recently, the app came under severe scrutiny of the United States lawmakers. They have raised concerns that the app could pose a national security risk and have called on regulators, intelligence agencies to probe into TikTok's ties with China.

The social video platform which has taken the world by a storm was launched by the Chinese firm ByteDance in 2017 for markets outside Asia. The internet company had previously launched the social media app Douyin for the Chinese market in 2016. Since its launch, the app has exploded in popularity and found a huge audience in youths and teenagers.

Last week, US Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton asked the US Intelligence Community to assess the national security risks posed by TikTok and other Chinese-owned platforms. They even stated that such apps could also be used to spy on US citizens.

In yet another startling accusation against the video app, the senators said that since TikTok's parent company ByteDance is based in China, it could be forced to co-operate with the intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

However, giving a befitting reply, TikTok said that they have a dedicated team of experts focused on adhering to cyber-security policies, data privacy and security practices.

This is not the first time that the video app has come under the scanner in the United States.
The app received a lot of flak recently after various reports emerged saying that it censors content that hurts the sentiments of the Chinese government. The Washington Post recently published a story probing the absence of posts about the Hong Kong anti-government protests on TikTok, compared to other social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. Even Mark Zuckerberg slammed the app over privacy and security concerns.

However, in its reply, TikTok said it does not remove contents based on Chinese sensitivities and is not influenced by any governmental organization.

The app also found itself in serious danger as it was alleged to spread Islamic State propaganda. Several reports emerged showing ISIS supporters posting videos showing Islamic State fighters with guns, mainly aimed to attract more youth to the organization.

Giving a befitting response, TikTok said that content promoting terrorist organizations have no place in it and announced to permanently ban all accounts and devices related to terrorist institutions.

The app has been banned in several countries, including Indonesia, for promulgating pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy. It was also briefly banned in India earlier this year for allegedly allowing pornographic and sleazy content to propagate, especially among its younger audience.

TikTok emerged as a leading short-video app and dominated the social media market within a span of few years. To an extent, it solved the modern user's need of having fun by creating and watching funny and entertaining videos. However, the ethical issues caused by the app cannot be neglected as we are monitored very closely.