by Declan Rooney ‘25
Over the past decade, a fear-mongering frenzy has swept the nation, turning grandparents into schizophrenic maniacs who post on Facebook about how the Deep State is turning their son into a liberal through messaging propaganda on Amazon Alexa. Online privacy is something that all Americans should be concerned about as big corporations look to profit from users’ personal data. But older Americans, particularly those who lack knowledge about the world of technology, have focused their fear of the world around them onto a single app: TikTok. The elderly in elective public office share the confusion and fear of the aging nationwide.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew was questioned by members of Congress on March 23 in perhaps the most unprofessional and unqualified fashion. Representatives and Senators elected by their constituents sat before the nation and asked the CEO of TikTok questions that their 13 year old nephews could answer. Georgia Rep. Earl Carter, age 66, asked Chew why TikTok tracked a user’s eyes. The answer is that TikTok uses eye tracking so that certain filters work–a simple and obvious answer. Carter appears to think the trackers are a means of using mind control on citizens. Or it’s for tracking a pet lizard named Greg, or to program a microwave to burn up a Hot Pocket that spreads out of control and destroys a house. It’s anyone’s guess as to what those Chinese Marxists are up to.
Elected officials at the state level are old, too, and Montana took the brave and patriotic step to ban the whole three people who live there from using TikTok. The state legislature of Montana has somehow found a way to make the whole state more irrelevant than it already was. One of the three people affected supported the ban, saying, “The Chinese government is trying to spy on me using this app and I will not tolerate it anymore! They want to come to my ranch in the middle of nowhere and spy on me, and my horses specifically, and that is a danger to our national security.”
Montana Governor Gref Gianforte signed the bill into law and insisted that it was a measure to keep Montona the way it has always been. “It is our job here at the Montana state capitol to ensure our citizens are as miserable as possible living here in the middle of nowhere, and today, I think we have done just that.” Gianforte is a software engineer by training and made hundreds of millions when he sold his tech company. He also is a creationist who believes the planet Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Seriously, google it.
The craze over TikTok is just a small part in a greater discourse concerning the online privacy of Americans. Many politicians seem unaware that TikTok is no different than all the other apps that are Made in America. One difference is that TikTok is a great hobby for millions and millions of Americans. Banning TikTok doesn’t protect a person’s hamster from Chinese state propaganda, nor does it protect Americans from being spied on by their devices.