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National Security Threat Or Meme Factory? Maybe TikTok Is Both.

This photo shows the logo of the social media video sharing app TikTok displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.
This photo shows the logo of the social media video sharing app TikTok displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.

Maybe you’ve never used TikTok. But the app is touching your life in ways you might not expect. Remember “ok boomer?” That meme largely came from TikTok.

Users on the platform create and share videos of themselves mouthing along to a clip for a skit or lip-syncing to a song.

It’s a concept that’s translated to a great deal of success. TikTok was downloaded more than a billion times in 2018 and has surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat in monthly installments from the Apple App Store.

But even though the app has a reputation as one of the last fun places on the internet, maybe nothing gold can stay. Late last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States  opened an investigation into the app because it had found evidence that it may have been moderating political content and potentially sending data back to China. Chinese company ByteDance acquired the company that used to be TikTok in 2017.

What sort of data does TikTok collect? Does it pose an actual threat, or is the review just a review?

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