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Grand Rapids native, TikTok star on potential FCC app shutdown

Frankie LaPenna
Posted at 9:46 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 09:55:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Federal Communications Commission is looking to ban TikTok from app stores, claiming the social media video app is a surveillance tool for the Chinese government.

TikTok’s American branch says it’s committed to keeping the United States secure.

Meanwhile, many popular TikTok stars are concerned about losing that platform, including Frankie LaPenna from Grand Rapids.

“I have been making videos since I was in eighth grade. Totally obsessed with it and did it all through high school,” LaPenna told FOX 17 Friday. “So the video that I did with the NFL on the Baltimore Ravens, which was one of the virtual called green screen videos, is the NFL’s number one performing post on social media of all time.”

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr claims the TikTok app collects personal data, like browsing history, biometrics and location information.

“That’s a problem, not as a national security problem, but to me looks like a violation of the terms of the app store,” Carr said.

LaPenna says it would be a bummer if he lost TikTok as a platform, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

He says he’s boosting his video production from an iPhone to a more professional setup with lights and cameras. And now, LaPenna is diversifying himself across other social media platforms.

“I have the biggest following on TikTok, but I’m posting just as much on Instagram and YouTube, and they’re just as critical,” LaPenna explained.

LaPenna says his viral videos have become rewarding financially, as well. He creates content fulltime, whether it’s for him or for a different brand.

While he knows TikTok may not be a long-term career, LaPenna says he’s enjoying the ride.

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