Poll shows nearly half of Americans support TikTok ban

Almost half of adults living in the US support a ban on TikTok, according to a new nationwide online poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos and released Wednesday.

The numbers show 47% of Americans support "banning the social media application, TikTok, from use in the United States," while 36% opposed a ban on the Chinese-owned social media app. 17% of respondents said they weren’t sure.

The TikTok app is owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance and is used by tens of millions of Americans. The survey also posed questions to the participants about national security concerns and China.

The app has faced criticism from privacy advocates, US intelligence, lawmakers, and even the US Surgeon General.

Child advocates say the app can harm the mental health of teenagers and young adults, while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle worry about the possibility of Chinese government influence on American citizens and invasive data collection practices.

Fifty-eight percent of Republicans favored a ban, compared to 47% of Democrats, the August 16th poll showed.

The poll also revealed that seventy-five percent of Americans had a negative view of China, and across party lines, about 65% of Americans felt China's government was trying to influence the upcoming US presidential election.

Top US intelligence officials, including CIA Director William Burns and FBI Director Christopher Wray, both have said TikTok poses a threat to national security.

With US-China relations at an all-time low, the TikTok ban could become a focus for presidential candidates in the 2024 election, especially within the Republican party.

Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has said he favors some form of national ban on the app.

TikTok said in a statement that more than 150 million Americans, including 5 million US businesses, actively use TikTok to earn income and engage with their communities.

"We've taken unprecedented actions to safeguard protected US user data, and we will continue working to build a safe, secure, and inclusive platform to ensure the positive experience of our users in every corner of the country," a TikTok spokesperson said.

The online survey of 1005 adults, including 443 Democrats and 346 Republicans, has an error margin of 4%. The two-day poll concluded on Tuesday.