Tiktok On Trial

TikTok Ban Bill Passed: Here’s why and what it means for users

Tik Tok is a beloved app that is used by millions world-wide. Thousands of companies, millions of viewers, countless creations, and copious amounts of content are what makes this app an overwhelming presence in America. March 13,the House of Representatives passed a bill stating that Bytedacne, Tiktok’s owner, must sell the app to a buyer that is approved by the government or face banishment in the U.S.

Why does the government want to ban tiktok?

The government wants to ban tiktok for two main reasons:

  1. The spread of misinformation about the U.S. Government to American citizens 
  2. The risk of stealing American and American citizens’s personal information and data. 

In other words, the U.S. government suspects that TikTok is leaking American user data to the Chinese government and spreading misinformation through its media. 

Representative Mike Gallagher, Wisconsosn Republican, shares his opinion about this issue. 

“There are two security-using the app to find Americans, exfiltrate data, track the location of journalists…but I actually think the greater concern is the propaganda,” Gallagher said. “If Tik Tok continues to establish itself as the dominant news platform in America, and if the algorithm remains…subject to the control of ByteDance and, by extension, the Chinese Communist Party, you’re placing the control of information…in the hands of America’s foremost adversary.”

The biggest threat the U.S. is concerned about is the Chinese Communist Party. They are skeptical about the app because of ByteDance’s connection to the CCP. 

What is Byte Dance and does it relate to the CCP? 

ByteDance is an internet company that owns TikTok. It has access to all of tiktok’s data and its media. Although TikTok CEO Shou Chew consistently informs Congress that ByteDance is not controlled nor owned by the Chinese government, skeptics are still out there debunking his claim with Chinese Government laws. According to a CNN article about CCP and Tiktok’s relationship, ByteDance is legally bound to institute an in-house Communist party committee that consists of members who are affiliated with the CCP. Along with this committee, Bytedance is bound by many Chinese government laws that force it to cooperate with the CCP:

  1. National Intelligence law: any organization must oblige to China’s national intelligence works: Bytedance MUST assist the CCP with gathering intelligence 
  2. Data Security law: The CCP can process outside data that could potentially “harm national public interest” 

This means that China has the power to manage and regulate Byte Dance and by extension, TikTok.

How will Tik Tok being shut down affect its users? 

There is no question that TikTok is beloved by millions of people in the U.S. and that it is the main source of entertainment/news for many of those users. Roughly 170 million Americans use Tikotk ( that’s more than the population of Russia), and over 5 million businesses use the app as well. TikTok is a HUGE market for many businesses, with several products that will sell out in stores immediately if an item starts “trending.” Products like Stanley Cups, Dior lip oil, and many other marketed items use TikTok to market their products and succeed with products trending almost immediately. This app uses its widespread network to boost the economy in people’s consumer attitudes. Shuttingdown Tiktok would hurt small business income, with the app being some business’ main source of marketing. Ads would be shut down, business would no longer appeal to TikTok users, and other damaging effects would occur.

Along with businesses, users would be affected as well. Many people believe that taking away TikTok is silencing many user voices and infringing on Freedom of speech. Several users express themselves, their opinions, and educate people on different political, cultural, and current topics, without the app, these voices would be silenced.  

Although people are mad about muffling people’s voices, banning TikTok is supported by some. 

“I think it should be limited for younger audiences, but banning it would definitely harm creators who it’s their main source of income,” junior Allison Howitt said. 

The TikTok banning bill has been passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden. This means that the bill has been passed and TikTok will either be banned in the U.S. or will be forced to be sold to an U.S. approved buyer. 

“It’s probably for the best to be honest, they’re not trying to pass it for the right reason, they are just overreacting to Chinese presence in America and Chinese influence,” an anonymous student said. 

Although President Biden signed the bill, TikTok will not stop fighting for their place in the U.S. TikTok CEO Shou Chew has spoken on this issue countless times to Congress and will continue to fight for what he believes is the freedom of speech of everyday citizens. 

“Make no mistake, this is a ban. A ban on TikTok, and a ban on you and your voice,” TikTok CEO Shou Chew said. “Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere. We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts.”

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