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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Potential TikTok Ban Explored

Graphic courtesy Max Pixel

With 672 million downloads in 2022, TikTok has become the most popular app in the United States by far and is used constantly nationwide. However, the US Congress has proposed a bill banning the use of TikTok on all devices because of privacy concerns regarding user data, but that may be harder to accomplish than previously thought.

President Joe Biden and his administration plan on passing this bill unless ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the app, is willing to sell the app to the administration. This action will ensure that the Chinese government does not have access to American user data.

“TikTok is a weapon [used] by the Chinese Communist Party to spy on you, manipulate what you see and exploit for future generations. A ban is only a short term way to address TikTok and a data privacy bill is the only way to stop TikTok from ever happening again in the United States,” United States Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a hearing with Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok.

At the beginning of the hearing, Chew made many claims that these accusations are false and made promises to ensure the privacy of users.

“ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government. It’s a private company,” Chew said in his statement.

However, it was evident in his lack of clear answers and resistance to direct questions that Chew may have been avoiding the truth about TikTok.

“The first thing they can do is simply insist that ByteDance, the company of TikTok, treat ByteDance as a public company, spin it off, let it be known by worldwide or US shareholders and then it would be required to comply with all the regulatory issues surrounding a public business full disclosure,” Jim Weisfield, a patent lawyer working in digital technology, said.

With this option as well as Chew resisting the demand to sell the app, many people are worried about the app being banned, but at this point it may be very difficult to accomplish. If the bill to ban TikTok does get passed, ByteDance could easily fight back and win, especially with the amount of money they have control of. Chew appears to be waiting for the situation to subside.

“I don’t really care what Congress writes, or what the administration writes,” James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said. “They’re not going to ban TikTok. They can ban financial transactions, or they can try to force divestiture. But they don’t have the ability to ban TikTok itself.”

This is a relief for many people across the country who use the app to promote their businesses, opinions, art, and general entertainment. There have been many shifts to the issue of the ban of TikTok, but as of now it appears that banning the app may result in extreme financial consequences for the US government, so the ban may not be possible or easy.

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About the Contributor
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!

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