I can see the appeal – short videos, informative, get to the point, quick hit satisfaction for the brain. It is fun to go down the tiktok or reels or stories or whatever rabbit hole those short form videos take. We’ve all done it. But I’ve never downloaded TikTok and as the passage of Congress’s bill making parent company ByteDance divest from their keystone app for American audiences looms, I am here to make the case why I never will.

First and foremost, let’s just look at the vote in Congress. The senate voted in favor of the bill 79-18 and the House voted 360-58. In an era where the biggest criticism of Washington is that they get nothing done, REpublicans and Democrats came together in an overwhelming way to make a statement: Chinese ownership in TikTok is a threat, and needs to change. When is the last time you saw a vote that lopsided on something that wasn’t naming a post office or some other inconsequential law?

Next, what about content? In China, kids are limited to 40 minutes per day with topics fed to them including “science, educational and historical content” while American kids have no limits. I don’t know what most American kids are getting fed on Tiktok, but I can almost guarantee it’s not educational. Not only does this shine a light on the way China is treating potential for social media addiction in comparison to the United States, it offers a glimpse into the way the algorithm can be manipulated to achieve an end goal.

Which brings me to my next point: fueling the culture war. Between the boomers and gen alpha, Republicans vs. Democrats, and any two differing ideologies in America today, it seems like the culture war is growing and deepening. Social media has given everyone a voice with the potential to reach millions, empowering so many who haven’t had that ability before, but also drawing lines in the sand that we deal with day in and day out. But my question is this: who benefits from the culture war? Not America, that’s for sure! The only people that benefit from deeping divides within America are our adversaries, one of which has a stake in one of the apps driving that divide.

I probably sound like an old fuddy duddy, but I try to call it like I see it. From my point of view, I say good riddance to Chinese ownership in TikTok, and hopefully, we as a society can stop trying to profiteer from outrage politics by way of 30 second shorts.

-Justin Giorgio, Senior Account Director