People who don’t use TikTok think it’s a national security threat

The constant pressure to treat TikTok as a national security threat appears to be working, albeit only on some people. A Pew Research Center survey indicates that 59 percent of American adults see TikTok as a danger, but that this perception varies based on whether or not someone uses the service. Only nine percent of TikTok users see the social network as a major threat, while 36 percent of non-users feel the same. In all, 42 percent of users see the service as any kind of risk where 65 percent of outsiders are worried.

It won’t surprise you to hear that age plays a significant role in the perception of TikTok. Only 49 percent of users under 30 see TikTok as any threat (just 13 percent as a major threat), but those figures climb higher with older demographics. About 65 percent of those over 65 are nervous about TikTok, and 46 percent of that group sees it as a critical threat. Politics are also a factor. A whopping 76 percent of conservatives are concerned where 49 percent of liberals share that sentiment.

Roughly 64 percent of American adults are at least somewhat worried about TikTok’s data handling practices, Pew adds. Again, the figures change based on age. Only 54 percent of people under 30 feel that way, while 75 percent of those over 65 are concerned.

The study was taken just as Montana enacted a law banning TikTok in the state, and long after politicians from both major US parties called for national bans. The platform is already banned on most federal devices. The reasoning is frequently similar. Officials are concerned that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, might feed American users’ data to the Chinese government or influence algorithms to spread pro-China propaganda.

TikTok has repeatedly denied Chinese government influence, and has taken a number of steps to reassure US politicians. It’s storing US data domestically, offering transparency into its code and firing staff that improperly access sensitive data. However, those measures haven’t done much to assuage government representatives — and the Pew data suggests the public is similarly wary.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.