Will TikTok Face a Ban in the US?

TikTok, the popular video-sharing app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has been a subject of controversy in recent years. The app’s potential ban in the United States has sparked debates about data privacy, national security, and the influence of foreign companies on American users.

The bill on TikTok Ban, having passed the Senate, now awaits US President Joe Biden's signature.
The bill on TikTok Ban, having passed the Senate, now awaits US President Joe Biden’s signature. (AP)

Also Read: The US TikTok Ban: How ByteDance Responded to the Ban

Reasons for the Ban

The primary concern driving the proposed TikTok ban is the potential risk to national security. U.S. lawmakers fear that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, could share sensitive user data with the Chinese government. Despite TikTok’s assurances that it does not share data with the Chinese government, these concerns persist.

Earlier Attempts of TikTok Ban

The previous TikTok legislation successfully passed through the House but encountered a delay in the Senate. To expedite the process, House Republicans tactically appended the revised TikTok bill to the foreign aid package this month, aiming to compel the Senate to vote on it. By combining the bill with the foreign aid, a significant priority for the US, it was fast-tracked, increasing the likelihood of its passage.

Joe Biden’s Stance

President Joe Biden, who has publicly endorsed the earlier TikTok legislation, is expected to swiftly sign the bill, given that it is part of the foreign aid package he has vocally supported. With Biden’s history of backing TikTok-related measures, there is little indication that he would oppose the latest version, which grants TikTok a slightly extended timeframe and allows for additional White House involvement in the potential forced sale. The bill, having passed the Senate, now awaits Biden’s signature. If signed into law, the legislation provides TikTok’s China-based parent company with 270 days to divest its assets or face a ban in the United States.

What Should TikTok Do?

In response to the proposed ban, TikTok has likely two options. One, the company could challenge the statute in court, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional and that it has taken steps to protect American users’ data. Another, TikTok could comply with the legislation by finding a U.S.-approved firm to buy the app.

How Users Are Affected?

TikTok would be prohibited from US app stores and from “internet hosting services” that support it. The ban could have significant implications for TikTok’s users. If TikTok is banned, existing users won’t be able to connect to TikTok servers since ISPs block the app’s server access. However, users could potentially bypass these restrictions using a VPN. According to a survey, nearly 60% of TikTok users would switch to Instagram Reels if TikTok is banned.

Similar Bans Accross Globe

The U.S. is not the only country where TikTok has faced scrutiny. Other countries, including Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Nepal, and The Netherlands, have announced or already implemented partial or total bans on the app.

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