Letter To The Editor: Frum Jews Must Delete Immodest Tiktok from Their Devices

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Dear VINnews,

The problem, really, is that while humanity continues to experience huge leaps in technology, we experience no equivalent leaps in our ethical capacity. In the never-ending arms race between technology and ethics, technology always wins. (David J. Morris)

Many of the emerging technologies in the current era require us to be wary of the moral and social implications we face in adopting them, but perhaps none more so than Tiktok. The social networking service, which serves as a platform for all kinds of short user videos, including  pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment, has many deeply worrying issues. First and foremost, the app is highly addictive, and is designed to encourage all sorts of pernicious and harmful behaviors which are filmed and distributed for financial gain.

There is more than a suspicion that the Chinese government is a significant factor in the ByteDance company which could enable it to gain sensitive information about US users from its US branch. For this reason, former president Trump attempted to force ByteDance to sell its US branch, to prevent the parent company from accessing data which “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” Trump’s initiative was eventually blocked by the courts, and President Biden recently reversed Trump’s moves against Tiktok.

The fact that so much money is being spent to advertise and sell the app should also raise suspicions about the motives behind the promotion. Private companies usually do not invest such large sums (TikTok spent $345 million on marketing and sales in 2020) and this is yet another warning sign that a government may be hiding behind the commercial activity of ByteDance.

However even if one dismisses these security concerns, the moral issues with the app should make it repugnant to any orthodox Jew. Tiktok is an unabashedly pornographic platform which caters to the basest instincts of humanity. Much of the material involves laughing and mocking people in difficult situations in a crude and ugly way.

Moreover there are real dangers for children in emulating some TikTok trends. One such trend involved users interrupting their breathing until they get close to losing consciousness. This challenge has lead to the recent deaths of a number of children aged 9-12. Other inane challenges involved swallowing magnetic balls and back cracking, both potential health hazards.

The app has also been blamed for the recent spate of attacks on Jews in Jerusalem, as Arab thugs attacked Jews while their friends gleefully uploaded to TikTok with appropriate music and anti-Israel sentiments.

All in all, the app is harmful, dangerous and immoral and it behooves us to delete it from our phones and those of our children as soon as possible.

— Extremely Worried Parent from Boro Park, NY

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of VINnews. 

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