The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

Future of TikTok Uncertain as US Considers Ban

Future+of+TikTok+Uncertain+as+US+Considers+Ban
Camilo Jimenez

One of the most popular, trending social media platforms in the world, TikTok, has become a focal point in the tensions between the United States and China. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that could potentially ban the app, stating that it is due to national security concerns. 

The US government is worried that TikTok’s Chinese ownership, ByteDance, could pose a potential threat to American users. They fear that American user data could be accessed by the Chinese government or that the app’s algorithm, which recommends content to users, could be manipulated to spread propaganda or other damaging false information (NYT). TikTok adamantly denies these claims, expressing their efforts to store user data securely in the United States, as well as the presence of American leadership within the company. They also argue that a significant portion of their ownership comes from global investors.

The proposed bill would force ByteDance to sell TikTok within a set timeframe of six months to a buyer approved by the U.S. government. If a sale cannot be reached, the bill proposes to restrict the app from being distributed or updated on app stores and web hosting platforms (National Post).

Despite its support in the House, the bill is unlikely to pass. The Senate has yet to vote on it, and many suggest it will not pass due to potential complications. Even if the Senate does vote to ban the app, forcing the sale of a massive platform with millions of users could be difficult, as we do not know exactly how this sale would go. Would ByteDance sell its entire global footprint of TikTok, or just the U.S. operation? Selling just the U.S. app could create technical challenges, such as how the algorithm would function.

The situation surrounding TikTok raises concerns about free speech, as a ban could limit users’ ability to express themselves. The future of TikTok is on a divided stage with an uncertain outcome.

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