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Generation Gap: Looming TikTok Ban Fractures US Society

© AP Photo / Kiichiro SatoA logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo.
A logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.03.2023
Washington is reportedly pressuring Chinese shareholders of the app to sell their stakes - otherwise, the video-sharing platform will risk a complete ban in the US. TikTok representatives insist that shareholder castling will change nothing from a data security standpoint and promised to inject $1.5 billion to protect user info.
41% of US citizens support the TikTok ban, while 25% oppose this move, research carried out by American media revealed. More importantly, 71% of respondents are concerned about the Chinese origins of the popular app.
However, the poll reflects the division of American society - showing a major discord between generations. The majority of TikTok opponents are above 35 years old and they do not use the app themselves, while younger demographic cohorts are in favor of the video-sharing platform. 59% of Americans aged 18 to 34 use the app compared to 13 percent of those 65 or older.
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TikTok's popularity among young people is the main reason why Washington is still mulling the ban despite its general anti-China stance. As one of US officials has reportedly put it, "The politician in me thinks you’re gonna literally lose every voter under 35, forever."
At the same time, the teens' TikTok obsession is its Achilles heel, since 72% of Americans believe that the app is dangerous for their mental health.
The research was published in the wake of harsh public discussions about the app. TikTok's chief executive Zi Chew will testify before US Congress today that the Chinese-owned video app “has never shared, or received a request to share, US user data with the Chinese government.” Experts, however, express doubt that this move will quiet TikTok paranoia.

"I think that there is a real risk that if this hearing doesn't go well…" Chris Stokel-Walker, author of TikTok Boom reportedly said.

In 2020, Donald Trump attempted to ban Chinese social media, including TikTok and WeChat but to no avail. The Biden administration at first dropped this initiative but later reintroduced pressure on the social media giant.
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