* Photo: Readers Digest
Back in 2020, the Trump administration first threatened the popular video-app with a ban if the app wasn’t sold to a US-based company. In recent months, the Biden administration is now threatening to do the same. Governments have expressed concerns that the app, which is owned by a Chinese company by the name of ByteDance, may jeopardize user’s private data.
Many countries have already imposed restrictions onto TikTok. India, for instance, banned 59 Chinese phone apps including TikTok in 2020. In a statement released, these apps were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order".
On the 27th of February, the White House gave all federal agencies 30 days to remove the social media platform from government devices. While only impacting a very small portion of the more than 100 million TikTok users in the United States, will fuel calls for an outright ban. The ban does not apply if there are security research activities taking place.
TikTok has repeatedly stated that it doesn’t share data with the Chinese government, but it hasn’t been enough to appeal to lawmakers. During a debate, Republican Rep. Micheal McCaul expressed his concerns, calling Tiktok a “spy balloon”. Beyond this, there have also been concerns about the Chinese government using Tiktok to influence American users. This concern is not limited to TikTok but the high usage rate and popularity of TiTtok specifically is worrying to U.S officials. To provide insight, more than 1 in 3 Americans are using the app. It has changed social media as a whole.
The most likely way that a government ban could be enforced is through the action of removing the app from all app stores, such as those owned by Apple and Google. The chances of TikTok actually being banned aren’t very high but it is stronger than ever. But for the U.S, overcoming the popularity of the app might be a challenge.