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The Potential Ban on TikTok in the U.S.

Written by Carla Elalam

Edited by Annika Lilja


Image by Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)

Since its launch in 2016, the app TikTok has surged in popularity, particularly in the United States, amassing millions of users. However, this year, the social media platform has come under fire for misinformation and data privacy issues. 


The U.S. government has grown increasingly concerned about Tiktok’s ties to its Chinese parent company: ByteDance. They fear that user data, including sensitive information like location data, could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. This fear stems from laws in China that allow the government to demand data from companies like ByteDance for intelligence purposes, raising fears of potential surveillance and influence.


In response to these concerns, several government agencies have begun investigations into Tiktok’s data handling practices, introducing the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. This past March, the House passed the bill by an overwhelming vote of 352-65, and it is now in the hands of the Senate. If Congress passes the bill, President Joe Biden will likely maintain his commitment to signing it, thus forcing TikTok’s Chinese owner to either sell it to a US company or completely ban the app nationwide. The ban would force Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores and require internet service to block access to TikTok via internet browsers within the United States. 


Regarding the impending ban, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew posted a TikTok video stating, “This bill gives more power to a handful of other social media companies. It will also take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses. It will put more than 300,000 American jobs at risk, and it will take away your TikTok." He points out that the bill is a result of intense lobbying efforts by competitors like Meta. Chew’s message resonated with viewers, encouraging them to advocate against the ban by calling their local elected officials to oppose the ban. 


The idea of a potential ban on TikTok has sparked apprehension among many Americans, as they believe this ban goes against their civil liberties. For many, TikTok is a platform where they can freely express themselves, share their creativity, and connect with millions of others all over the world. Restricting access to TikTok would not only impede their freedom of expression but also limit their exposure and access to a diverse range of viewpoints. This ban would not only affect individual users but also impact small businesses that rely on TikTok as a crucial tool for reaching their audience.


Despite the threat of a ban, TikTok remains popular among American users, with millions of people of different ages continuing to express their support for the platform. As the Senate prepares to debate the bill in the coming weeks, the outcome will be pivotal, shaping not only the future of TikTok but also the wider social media world.


 

Sources:


Freking, Kevin, et al. “House Passes a Bill That Could Lead to a Tiktok Ban If Chinese Owner Refuses to Sell.” AP News, AP News, 14 Mar. 2024, apnews.com/article/tiktok-ban-house-vote-china-national-security-8fa7258fae1a4902d344c9d978d58a37.

 

Allyn, Bobby. “The House Passed a Tiktok Ban Bill. but Is the App Really a National Security Threat?” NPR, NPR, 14 Mar. 2024, www.npr.org/2024/03/14/1238435508/tiktok-ban-bill-congress-china


Yeo, Amanda. “TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Responds to Proposed U.S. Ban, Hints at Lawsuit.” Mashable, Mashable, 14 Mar. 2024, mashable.com/article/tiktok-ban-ceo-response-shou-zi-chew

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