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Could This Be the End of TikTok in the United States?

Eva Anido explores the ban of TikTok on the global stage, looking specifically at the new developments in the US.


You may have seen some clips circling around your For You Page featuring Shou Zi Chew (Tik Tok’s CEO) being interrogated before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the United States. These clips have been extracted from the committee hearing over the ban or sale of the TikTok app in the US. The videos that are trending on social media consist of US lawmakers asking seemingly irrational questions and accusing TikTok of foul play regarding policies and actions that are in reality up to industry standards. [1]


The threat of the US government banning TikTok is nothing new. We can trace this all the way back to 2020 where the US first threatened to ban the app under the Trump administration. The app is run by the Chinese company, ByteDance, and due to the conflict between them and the States, it was seen as a national threat. The government at the time had suspicion of some form of censorship on the app that promoted the regime of the Chinese government. Alongside this, the Trump administration expressed their concern that the app could be stealing the data of the 100 million American TikTok accounts at the time. Trump, as a result of this issue, had signed numerous executive orders to have the app taken down from app stores; however all of these attempts were blocked as US law did not allow such orders. [2]


The Biden administration has recently expressed their hard stance towards resolving national security concerns in regards to TikTok. Prior to the meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Biden administration had pushed for ByteDance, the company that owns tiktok, to sell the app to a US run company. The idea behind this is that it would prevent further action being taken towards banning the app. ByteDance responded to this by explaining that the sale of TikTok would not improve national security as it would not apply any new restrictions on data flow or access. [3]


So, what came from the committee hearing with Shou Zi Chew? Whilst the TikTok algorithm pushed clips between the CEO and US lawmakers engaging in meaningless questions, we discovered a few things that had not made it to the media. One of these discoveries being TikTok’s new 1.5 billion dollar effort towards data security, called “Project Texas''. Despite this, following the meeting we have seen 20 US Senators approve a bipartisan bill which would give President Biden the authority to officially ban TikTok in the United States. [4]


In December of last year the US congress officially banned the app on all federal devices with the President following this in March 2023 by giving US government agencies 30 days to delete the app from their government devices. Many countries followed suit as seen with the top three EU bodies banning TikTok from their government devices on March 20th. Australia has also joined this list, banning TikTok on all government devices. The app has been banned entirely in countries like Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. One question to consider is whether our feeling of national security against China is as simple as banning an app. If the US is successful and the rest of us follow, what’s next? [5]

by Eva Anido






[ENDNOTES]


[1] Shepardson, David. “TikTok Congressional Hearing: CEO Shou Zi Chew Grilled by US Lawmakers”. Reuters, 24 Mar. 2023,

https://www.reuters.com/technology/tiktok-ceo-face-tough-questions-support-us-ban-grows-202 3-03-23/

[2] Child, David. “Why Does Trump Want to Ban TikTok in the US?.” Evening Standard, 28 Sep. 2020,

https://www.standard.co.uk/tech/donald-trump-tiktok-ban-explained-a4557661.html

[3] McCabe, David. “U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns.” The New York Times, 15 Mar. 2023,

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/technology/tiktok-biden-pushes-sale.html#:~:text=The%20 fight%20over%20TikTok%20began,the%20United%20States%2C%20or%20CFIUS.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Palmer, Elizabeth. “TikTok Banned on U.S. Government Devices, and the U.S. is Not Alone. Here’s Where the App is Restricted.” CBS News, 6 Apr. 2023,



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