House Passes Potential TikTok Ban

Apr 25, 2024

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in April that will ban the social media app TikTok in the next nine months unless its China-based owner sells their stake in the company.

Despite significant lobbying from Chinese diplomats throughout April, the House voted 360 to 58 on the legislation, which won’t actually ban TikTok if the company cuts all ties with China, according to The Associated Press. The bill moved swiftly through Congress after previous iterations were pushed back, likely prompted more by national security threats than the risk posed to young Americans consumed by social media.

Concerns over TikTok were initially raised because of its Chinese ownership. Under the Chinese Communist Party’s rule, companies that operate in China can be forced to give up all data for military and other political purposes. Given the amount of American data stored on TikTok, this is a serious concern.

“What people need to understand is that it’s not just that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese company. It’s a [company that is] uniquely connected to the Chinese state,” author Peter Schweizer told Tony Perkins. “The algorithm, for example, that drives TikTok and makes it so addictive and so capable of predicting what the audience wants to see — that’s not only a company secret for ByteDance. The Chinese government has actually declared it a state secret. … [ByteDance] does a lot of joint research with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.” (LEARN MORE: Experts Warn Of China ‘Smokescreen’)

Pushback On Free Speech

Many young people have voiced their anger at the potential ban, saying there’s a serious risk to the financial future of creators who are dependent on the platform for income, the AP wrote in another article. (LEARN MORE: Biden’s TikTok Ban Turns Off Younger Voters)

“I don’t take a day for granted on this app, because it’s been so shocking,” TikTok comedian Alex Pearlman told the outlet. “In reality, TikTok has been the driver of American social media for the last four years. Something will step into that place if TikTok vanishes tomorrow. Whether or not that will be better or worse, Congress has no way of knowing.”

Will ByteDance Sell?

The smart move would be for TikTok’s owners to move away from their China-based interests. But the future might not play out that way. There is really no way of telling what happens next. What we do know is that the risks of TikTok being a form of CCP espionage are real, as are the risks to young people online in general. (LEARN MORE: China Uses TikTok As U.S. ‘Trojan Horse’)

But what happens next is also your choice. You can tell your local, state, and federally elected officials how you feel about the move to potentially ban TikTok today.

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