Warped algorithms designed to entrap you!  Your personal data is everywhere for the world to see! Future generations are being brainwashed!

These three tag lines are not new, Facebook – sorry, Meta – has long been beaten with them, as has Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

Step up the new bogeyman, TikTok – throw in talk of China and national security to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a good old witch hunt. The machines are listening!

Having worked at the heart of social media since 2011, I have seen first-hand the impact that dangerous narratives for and against platforms have and the factions that those narratives drive. It wasn’t long ago the world’s most charismatic social media entrepreneur was in front of the US Congress, now this week Tik Tok CEO has had a similar journey – but why is America looking to ban TikTok?

The simple reason would be ad revenue and corporate greed. The largest social media companies are all US based, apart from TikTok, they’re all heavily propped up by marketing dollars and the data that you and I give to them that they can then use to bring us more products or services.

Do you think the billions of dollars that go into TikTok ads are not bloodying the nose of the rest?

So you must ask yourself, is the prospective ban money orientated or is it really about security?

TikTok is addictive, and so is anything that you over-expose yourself to and don’t put in the right checks and balances, TikTok has a great algorithm that’s simple, it’s easy to become an authentic creator and TikTok does a great job in rewarding creators and making it easy for creators and brands to connect. 

Social media gives everyone a voice and TikTok has the strongest connection between Gen Z and below (Gen Alpha the next group soon to join the workforce), so what value would it have to push the next generation away from the place they want to be to a place where the money is controlled?

It’s hard to escape the thought that these scare stories about national (global) security are just smokescreens to attempt to wrestle big brands’ marketing budgets back to American-controlled entities. After all, who subsidises and lobbies all of these senators?

I think that all of the platforms have their place in our lives, because we all use them, for whatever reason you like the ones you like, you drop the ones you don’t and that’s ok because it’s your choice and your voice. That will always be the heart of social media.