July 24, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

Only 28% of Americans Support Banning TikTok, Poll Says

2 min read
Only 28% of Americans Support Banning TikTok, Poll Says

Only about 28% of Americans support banning TikTok, according to a new poll from market research firm Savanta. And while it remains to be seen whether the U.S. Senate will take up the so-called TikTok ban bill that passed the House earlier this month, this new poll will probably give lawmakers pause about the next steps.

The House bill, “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” passed on March 13 with a vote of 352 to 65, but without clear partisan distinctions. The bill would force TikTok’s China-based owner ByteDance to divest from the app, something it’s signaled it has no intention of ever doing. If ByteDance either wouldn’t or couldn’t sell within six months, the app would be banned in the U.S.

But the new polling from Savanta suggests the 170 Americans who use TikTok believe they could find a way around the ban. Roughly 60% say “their friends” would continue using the app even if a ban were enacted, an interesting way to ask the question.

Americans say they’d probably increase their use of other video-based social media apps like YouTube (34%) and Instagram (30%) if they truly couldn’t access TikTok anymore. But poll respondents didn’t completely abandon the idea of reform from TikTok.

About 69% of Americans said that TikTok and other social media companies, “need to do more to protect their personal data, including from foreign governments.” And 59% said that social media companies should do more “to tackle harmful speech and imagery on their platforms.” About 46% said they were concerned about the idea of social media swinging elections.

“Younger people—seen as key to the outcome of the presidential election—are particularly opposed,” Ethan Granholm, a research analyst at Savanta, told Gizmodo in a statement over email. “Many suggest their friends would simply keep using the app if they can, or otherwise switch to YouTube and Instagram, who are set to be the real winners here.”

The poll was conducted among 2,000 Americans 18+ from March 19-25, not long after the U.S. House passed its legislation a week earlier on March 13. But it remains to be seen whether the bill will ever become law.

“While TikTok enjoys public support right now, they should be aware there are real concerns about how they use personal data, with some already suggesting they have decreased usage of the app as a consequence. Consumers may well vote with their feet before lawmakers do, forcing TikTok to act,” Granholm said.

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