Recent social media giant TikTok has a new CEO, Kevin Mayer, who was Disney’s previous top executive for their streaming services. The TikTok app, a platform which is used to make and share short videos and memes, has been downloaded more than any other app worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been “described as a 21st century MTV.” Forbes wrote that if Mayer, who spearheaded Disney’s wildly popular streaming services, can bring that same success to TikTok, “the payoff could be even greater.” The app, which is part of Chinese-owned technology company ByteDance, has sparked controversy regarding child-safety, censorship, and user privacy.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have expressed distrust and aimed criticism at the app. NY Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) noted concerns about how an app that can “store massive amounts of personal data accessible to foreign governments — may pose serious risks to millions of Americans.” Almost every branch of the military has banned use of the app among employees. Republican Senator Josh Hawley has called for federal agencies to do the same and co-wrote a letter asking for officials to investigate the company. One news editor and avid TikTok fan/user wrote that he doesn’t know yet what the app’s ramifications will be, “but based on past experience with social media giants plus the nature of business in China, we can guess it’s probably not good.” He added that despite concerns, its user base is not likely to give it up, and he wrote, “It’s time to admit it. We all have a TikTok problem.”