Should Australia ban TikTok?

If you’re Nationals MP George Christensen, the answer is a clear yes. If you’re one of the 1.6 million Aussie users who froth the video app, the answer is likely no. And, if you average out the response from our 27 Pedestrians, the answer is a resounding “maybe!”

We should have expected some varied takes on this one. But those answers speak to the growing debate around the app, concerns over its data security, and the way we use social media in general.

For the uninitiated, TikTok is under some intense scrutiny right now. Folks like Christensen have accused the Chinese-owned app of being vulnerable to interference from the Chinese Government, potentially leaving Aussie user data in the hands of a foreign power.

TikTok’s Aussie representatives have strongly denied those claims, and are likely to dig their heels in at a Senate inquiry into social media next month.

All of that drama kicked up speculation the Australian Government will soon ban TikTok. There’s nothing to suggest a ban is on the cards in Australia, but Emma Ayliffe, 28, reckons we should ditch it ASAP.

“I think if there’s any question mark around the security of the app and the data that’s being collected, then we should not have it in Australia,” she said.

That’s one of two main reasons our 27 Pedestrians reckon TikTok should get the boot. The other is a lot simpler, as Shauny Edwards, 26, says it’s just “instant gratification for people that are bored and looking for satisfaction in outer ways, that they can’t find internally.”

Concerns over TikTok’s data collection are xenophobic, according to Sue Kang, 26, who noted that US-based Facebook sucks a phenomenal amount of data from users – and has a sketchy history of its own.

“Facebook’s been around for ages and nobody’s going like, ‘Oh my god, America’s taking all of my information and data, oh my God, Zuckerberg!” she said.

“But nobody’s says that. Instead, they’re all like, ‘TikTok, China, the other!’ So shook, so scared.”

Then there are the folks who believe that user data isn’t really that vital, so social media firms like TikTok should just have at it. A small price to pay for some viral content, it seems.

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Image: Pedestrian