Surveys Find TikTok Ban Opposition Among Young Americans — As the App Launches a $2 Million+ Ad Campaign in Battleground States

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Surveys have found opposition to a TikTok ban among young Americans, and the app is reportedly plotting a major ad campaign across battleground states. Photo Credit: BoliviaInteligente

As the Senate weighs the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, two new surveys are shedding light on public opinion of the measure and the broader idea of a TikTok ban.

The results of these surveys – Quinnipiac’s University National Poll and CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey – were just recently published. Of course, the responses aren’t providing the first look at how Americans feel about the government-ordered sale or domestic ban of TikTok, which has long faced criticism over its user-privacy practices, data policies, and more.

But they are particularly noteworthy amid the rapid legislative progress of the aforementioned Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. In brief, this bill would compel ByteDance to sell or shutter TikTok in the States – also leaving the door open for similar regulatory action against different platforms down the line.

For Beijing-based ByteDance and TikTok, that effectively amounts to a ban – a point underscored by the app’s CEO when he encouraged users to contact their senators about the legislation.

Returning to the surveys, Quinnipiac found when speaking with 1,569 adults (including 1,407 self-identified registered voters) that 47 percent of voters “oppose a national ban of TikTok,” with 41 percent in favor.

Despite TikTok’s efforts to paint the bill as an outright ban, though, 51 percent of voters are said to have expressed support for the above-described legislation, against 40 percent in opposition.

Unsurprisingly, given TikTok’s young and evidently warning-averse userbase, among voter respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 60 percent said they opposed the forced-sale bill; 71 percent of these voters said they opposed TikTok’s national ban.

But 53 percent of the same group nevertheless acknowledged concerns “that there is potential for a foreign government to have easy access to users’ information on TikTok,” according to the results. Moreover, 74 percent of all voter respondents said they held the concern.

CNBC’s findings are in some ways similar, with a total of 47 percent of the 1,001 respondents having expressed support for a ban in any event (20 percent) or a ban unless the app’s sold to a non-Chinese company (27 percent).

Democrats said they supported a ban (outright or unless sold), 40 percent to 38 percent, compared to 60 percent in favor and 20 percent opposed among Republican respondents, the survey shows. Especially important in an election year, however, independents said they opposed a ban, with 40 percent against and 34 percent in favor.

In keeping with TikTok’s demographics, 48 percent of this survey’s participants between the ages of 18 and 34 said the platform “should not be banned.”

Earlier this week, TikTok reportedly kicked off an over $2 million advertising campaign in several strategically selected states (including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Montana, and Nevada), with the involved television spots centering on how the app’s shutdown might impact users and businesses. A digital component, billboards, and other initiatives are reportedly forthcoming.