TikTok is dominant app for young Americans, besting YouTube, study finds

TikTok is the most popular social media app for young Americans, according to a survey that finds its lead over YouTube has only widened since it took over as the top app in 2020.

The data from Qustodio, a parental-control software maker, is likely to cause heartburn for policymakers who increasingly see TikTok as a national security and privacy issue because of its parent company’s ties to China.

Qustodio said Americans ages 4 to 18, on average, used TikTok 107 minutes each day, an amount that is 60% longer than the time they spent on YouTube, at 67 minutes.

It’s a bigger gulf than in 2020, when TikTok overtook YouTube and kids spent an average of 82 minutes per day on TikTok compared to 75 minutes on YouTube.

TikTok’s dominance clashes with efforts by governors across the country to ban the app from state-owned devices and networks at public agencies and universities.

Congress also banned the app from federal devices in last year’s omnibus spending bill.

Lawmakers are worried that TikTok, through its Beijing-based owner ByteDance, is allowing the Chinese government to look at Americans’ user data.

Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, has proposed a nationwide ban on the app.

TikTok has denounced the bans as “politically motivated” and says the restrictions won’t advance the national security of the U.S.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before the panel on March 23.

Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican, said the hearing is part of a broader look at Big Tech’s impact on society.

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