This past week, the United States congress held a hearing to vocalize the desire of government officials to ban TikTok. Child safety, cybersecurity risks, and unwanted access to user data were all key points of discussion during the hearing. Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, made four commitments to the U.S.-
- “We will keep safety, particularly for teenagers, as a top priority for us”
- “We will firewall protect the U.S. data from unwanted foreign access”
- “TikTok will remain a place for free expression, and will not be manipulated by any government”
- “We will be transparent, and we will give access to third-party independent monitors, to remain accountable to our commitments”
More than 1 in 3 Americans are using TikTok, or approximately 150 million active users. It is apart of everyday life in the United States. How can it possibly be banned? Lawmakers are feeling threatened by China, accusing that they are getting access to our data from TikTok without having any concrete evidence to make that claim. Shou Zi Chew was grilled for 5 hours during the hearing, with some lawmakers even accusing him of working for the Chinese government/Chinese Communist Party, despite the fact that Chew is Singaporean. TikTok is a company based in Singapore and Los Angeles, but it is owned by ByteDance, a company based in Beijing.
Outrage began to strike after the hearing, as many people came forward claiming that this hearing was rooted in xenophobia.
With TikTok constantly growing with more and more young people joining, the United States is getting increasingly more fearful that the app is not safe for children. During the hearing, Chew was met with several questions regarding the safety for young children to be on the app. As described by Chew, there are different experiences that different age groups can experience on TikTok. For example, in the U.S., there is an “under-13 experience” that allows young children to be on TikTok with heavy restrictions such as not being able to post videos, not seeing advertisements, and filtered videos.
So how could this ban impact the United States as a whole?
If the ban happens, it is likely that the major companies that run smartphones in the U.S. like apple and google, would remove the app from their app stores. This would include turning off app updates for people who already have the app installed on their devices, and eventually no longer being compatible with the phones operating system. Of course there could be ways to get around this by using private networks, but this would require some knowledgable skills in technology, which many people don’t have.
Many democrats are starting to express their concerns that a ban of TikTok in the U.S. could lead to less engagement from Gen Z voters in the upcoming election. Social media played a huge role in the previous presidential reaction, allowing young people to have instant access to knowledge about candidates and voting information. Banning TikTok would eliminate some of that easy access for millions of people who rely on social media for this information.
With all that is going on in the United States, from mass shootings to a constant fight for women’s rights, there are many major issues that I believe the U.S. should be focused on instead of worrying about a ban on TikTok.
4 thoughts on “Is TikTok Getting Banned in the United States?”
The first thing I thought about when hearing about this relates to your last paragraph, the mass shootings in the United States. The government should focus on protecting children and teens from guns and death rather than tik tok. If they actually cared (like you said in your first point), they would do something about the leading cause of death for children, firearms.
I feel like every other month there’s a new news outlet or article or tweet that TikTok is getting canceled and shut down for good. I also agree with your last paragraph. I find it annoying that the media and news are always so focused on a little app when there are insanely bigger problems to be focused on.
I enjoyed the information you shared about what is happening with TikTok. TikTok allows for unregulated news and I learned things from TikTok that I would not have learned anywhere else. Personally, I think about the train accident in Ohio. It received barely any national news coverage and I learned all about it through Tiktok.
I think it’s honestly hilarious that the US would focus on such a thing like this when there are SO many other issues that need attention and actually MATTER. Kind of scary.