CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Federal lawmakers are considering a controversial move that could disrupt the business and daily routines of millions, by banning TikTok from all U.S. devices.
One of those lawmakers co-sponsoring the legislation, Senate Bill 85, is North Carolina Senator Ted Budd. Budd argues TikTok poses a significant threat to national security and says it invades Americans’ privacy.
TikTok’s parent company, “ByteDance” is based in China, which is where most lawmakers’ concerns originate from, Budd included. He is extremely concerned about American data and privacy being accessed and utilized by the Chinese Communist Party.
Though American data gathered by TikTok is stored in U.S. Servers, multiple reports found ByteDance employees in China can easily access it. Budd thinks banning this app is long overdue and hopes Senate Bill 85 gains traction.
“We’ve been very concerned for at least three or four years about TikTok, even since the very beginning of its inception,” Budd said. “And we knew that it was really essentially a tool from the Chinese Communist Party through ByteDance, onto the TikTok App. And that’s very, very concerning. But look, we’ve got great developers here in the U.S. entrepreneurs that know how to develop wonderful software that has great customer interface, great user interface, and protects data privacy.”
Budd cites national security concerns, but a small business owner in Belmont says a ban would crush the majority of her sales.
Maggie Jenkins started her balloon company, Pop Charlotte Balloons, two years ago. She started crafting intricate balloon decor for family and friends’ parties, but her business blew up once Maggie started utilizing social media, particularly TikTok.
“I went to sleep, and I woke up the next morning, and this is my very first video. I had like 5000 views,” Maggie said.
Maggie’s following quickly went through the roof on TikTok, and she capitalized on it.
“TikTok launched my DIY kit and gave me more access across the country. So now I have a widespread range of customers instead of just here in Charlotte,” Maggie said.
Maggie now ships DIY balloon decor kits across the country and even the globe.
Emma: “Do you think your business would have taken off the way it has and been so successful, without social media?
Maggie: “No, 100% I say social media was the reason my company exploded.”
So what happens if Maggie’s main social media platform, TikTok, is taken away?
“I would lose probably $1,000 a week because that’s how much I’m pulling in every week from TikTok on my DIY kits,” Maggie said. “My assistant, I have her starting full time and I could not pay her full time if I’m not getting that income.”
Though Senator Ted Budd empathizes with TikTok creators, he feels Americans’ privacy and data are more critical, so he’s calling for an all-out app ban.
Budd thinks Americans who rely on TikTok for their business and stream of income will be able to do the same thing on a new app, based in America.
“You might have to reformat, there’s plenty of tools out there; maybe today it’s not as good as TikTok. And, you know, they’ve been entrepreneurs, they’ve built businesses, we understand that, but our primary concern is enemies, foreign and domestic,” Budd said.
Nothing is set in stone quite yet. Senate Bill 85 was recently introduced, read twice, and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.