Despite Governor Gianforte’s concerns about the influence of the Chinese Communist Party, a majority of TikTok users indicate they are more worried about potential government overreach than the prospect of Chinese spying. This sentiment is evident as 73% of the surveyed TikTok users perceive a potential government ban on TikTok as an act of authoritarianism, drawing comparisons to actions taken by the Chinese government. Furthermore, 55% of users view the heightened fears about Chinese spying as a form of xenophobia while 61% reveal they are not concerned about China having access to their data at all.
The survey also reveals users’ choices under the possible threat of espionage, with 47% willing to risk being spied on by China rather than lose their access to TikTok. In a striking display of skepticism, 59% of users believe that the U.S. government’s interest in banning TikTok is driven more by a desire to control the rapid dissemination of information than any legitimate security concerns.
As a contingency plan in the event of a ban, TikTok users already have alternate social media platforms in mind, including YouTube Shorts (46%), Instagram Reels (4%), Snapchat (8%), and other platforms (2%). While TikTok has a robust and loyal user base, its sudden absence could quickly be filled by competing platforms.
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