Explaining The Potential TikTok Ban

Written on 03/13/2024
Jade Donovan

This morning, The House of Representatives passed the bill that could ban TikTok, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. It seeks to make it illegal for software with ties to U.S. adversaries, like ByteDance (TikTok’s Chinese parent company), to be distributed within the United States. This includes preventing app stores like Apple’s App Store and Google Play from distributing TikTok. The bill requires ByteDance to sell TikTok within six months for the app to continue operating in the U.S., with the President overseeing the process to ensure a foreign adversary no longer controls the company. President Biden has indicated he would sign the bill if Congress passes it, emphasizing the bipartisan concern over national security risks associated with the app’s data and potential influence.

The bipartisan effort behind this bill is led by the leaders of the select committee on the Chinese Communist Party. It showcases significant concern over TikTok’s potential for personal data misuse and influence operations by foreign adversaries, specifically China. The bill aims not just at TikTok but establishes a framework for addressing other applications controlled by foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. This move reflects a broader concern over digital privacy, national security, and the influence of foreign powers through technology platforms.

Critics of the bill, including TikTok itself, argue that it infringes on free speech rights and could harm businesses that rely on the platform for growth. Some opposition also highlights the potential political and social implications of banning an app that has become a significant source of entertainment and information for millions of Americans.