A broad TikTok ban could be in the cards as the US stresses national-security concerns

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 by Snacks

TikTok-ban saga, reloaded… The US government’s been talking about banning TikTok for years over national-security concerns with the Chinese-owned app. The possibility just got more real: yesterday a bill that would give Biden the power to ban TikTok was on track to pass a key House committee vote. If it is greenlighted by Congress, it could lead to a Tok-less life for the 100M Americans using the app.

  • Tok nerdy to me: The bill, memorably named “H.R. 1153,” would change rules that’ve shielded TikTok from US sanctions on China. Those rules exempt “informational materials” like news and magazines from sanctions-related bans. Now…
  • UnStitched: The bill could strip protections from companies that share Americans’ personal data with China-affiliated entities.
  • Tick tock: It’s expected to pass in the Republican-controlled House, but its outlook is iffy-er in the Dem-majority Senate.

For You-page tunnel vision… Supporters of the ban say that TikTok is a tool that the Chinese Communist Party can use to monitor and manipulate Americans (think: weaponizing data, spreading misinfo). Critics like the ACLU argue that a broad ban would amount to censorship of free speech, violating the First Amendment. Meanwhile:

  • The US, Canada, and the EU have already barred federal employees from having TikTok on government-issued devices. India full-on banned TikTok for all its citizens.

It’s a messy Tok situation… The US has criticized China for being a censorship state (Google, Twitter, Facebook, and even TikTok itself are banned there). Now the US wants to ban a social-media app… but for national-security reasons. If TikTok actually poses a serious security threat, there’s a lot at stake: over two-thirds of American teens use TikTok, and a third of US TikTok users say they regularly get their news on the app.

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