Half of Americans support a US government ban of TikTok, the popular social video app that’s facing intense scrutiny over concerns related to its Chinese parent company ByteDance.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center found that 50% of Americans support a ban on the app, in comparison to 22% who are opposed. Those numbers basically flip when just looking at people who use the app: 19% of adult TikTok users support a government ban while 56% are opposed, according to Pew.
TikTok has more than 150 million monthly active users in the US. Its popularity has prompted other social media platforms, including Instagram and YouTube, to release their own TikTok-like short video features.
TikTok is particularly popular with younger people. A 2022 Pew survey found that 67% of teens ages 13 to 17 said they used TikTok. This age group, however, wasn’t included in the most recent survey about a government ban of the app. Conducted March 20-26, the Pew effort surveyed more than 3,500 US adults as part of an analysis of Americans’ foreign policy attitudes.
TikTok is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. US officials are skeptical of ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese government and question whether US users’ data is secure.
In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray could potentially be used “to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”
Earlier this month, the Biden Administration threatened a ban on TikTok unless ByteDance sold its stake to a US company. The federal government has already passed a TikTok ban on government devices.
Last week, TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Chew . He said TikTok has been “building what amounts to a firewall that seals off protected US user data from unauthorized foreign access.” That effort, called Project Texas, involves a US company overseeing the data, Chew said. TikTok has also said in the past that US fears of the company being controlled by the Chinese government are unfounded.