Is TikTok Banned in US? All You Need to Know (2024)

In the world of social media, which moves quickly, TikTok has surely made a lasting impression. The platform has become a cultural phenomenon thanks to its incredibly popular short-form videos and large user base, especially among Gen Z and millennials. Nonetheless, recent events have rocked the digital world: TikTok Banned in US.

Why are US officials trying to ban TikTok?

US officials alert users to TikTok’s management’s alleged Chinese government ties. For instance, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said during this week’s House of Representatives intelligence committee hearing that China might use the social media app to sway the US elections in 2024. Because ByteDance is based in Beijing, the Department of Justice recently alerted lawmakers to the dangers that “foreign governments like the PRC (China) that are known for their surveillance and censorship” pose to American users of TikTok.

TikTok Banned in US: Is TikTok a National Security Risk?

Supporters of the legislation claim that because the app’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing and might expose American user data to Chinese government surveillance, it poses a risk to national security. TikTok claims that all user data from Americans is stored in a U.S.-based entity and that only the company’s U.S.-based security is in charge of managing this storage. However, lawmakers’ concerns have not been greatly allayed by their efforts.

Despite the overwhelming support for the bill from both parties, some lawmakers opposed it because a complete ban on the app would restrict free speech. TikTok content creators cautioned against an effective ban during a press conference on Tuesday, which was attended by Representative Robert Garcia, a Democrat from California, and a few other progressive lawmakers. “The US ban on TikTok is more than just an exercise of free speech. Noting TikTok’s use as a platform for small businesses, Garcia said, “You are causing huge harm to our national economy.”

Who Voted in Favor of the Ban?

In a bipartisan vote, the majority of Republican members of Congress supported the bill, which passed 352-65. On March 5, along with over a dozen other lawmakers, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the top Democrat, and Mike Gallagher, the Republican chair of the House of Representatives’ select China committee, introduced the bill.

Notable Democrats who voted against the bill included House Democratic Whip Kathleen Clark, Arizona Senate candidate Ruben Gallego, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the top Democrats on the Judiciary, Ways and Means, Transportation, and Intelligence committees. “Any national security concerns should be made public before a vote, and there are serious antitrust and privacy questions here,” Ocasio-Cortez stated. Fifty Democrats and fifteen Republicans voted against the bill.

Trump Administration TikTok Banned in US

Trump attempted to make TikTok illegal while he was president, but the courts stopped him because, as a federal judge put it at the time, he “did not adequately consider an obvious and reasonable alternative.” On the Commerce Committee, the top Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, stated that he has “deep concerns” about TikTok but added that he hasn’t yet looked at the House bill. Alternatively, some lawmakers are putting forth the bipartisan RESTRICT Act of Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., which would enable the Commerce Department to further regulate foreign social media apps.

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Mark Warner, stated on Tuesday that while he believes the House’s impending passage of the bill is “good news,” “I have some different ideas.” Swift approval in the Senate will be blocked, according to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who stated on Monday that it “violates the First Amendment rights of 180 million Americans.” Some others have expressed their unwavering support for any initiative to shut down TikTok. “When it comes to a vote, it’s hard to vote against it,” Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said on Monday. Hawley is in favor of both the House bill and a general ban on TikTok. “However, I believe there will be a strong push to stop any voting.”

How Would a Ban Be Enforced?

Should the bill pass the Senate in its current form and be signed into law by Biden, ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, would have approximately six months to sell off the US assets of the short-video app. It’s unclear if TikTok’s US assets could be sold in six months, or if China would permit any sales at all.

If ByteDance was unable to fulfill this obligation, TikTok and web hosting services for ByteDance-controlled applications could not be lawfully offered in app stores run by Apple, Alphabet’s Google, and others. The ban should theoretically make it harder for users to access TikTok in the US, if not impossible.

Is TikTok Banned in Other Countries?

In June 2020, TikTok and several other apps created by Chinese developers were banned by India because they might jeopardize the integrity and security of the country. November 2023 saw the app’s ban by the Nepali government. TikTok is not allowed on federally owned devices in the US, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, among other nations.

What’s next for TikTok in the U.S.?

The Senate may take a less certain course with the TikTok bill than the House did because some senators want to regulate foreign-owned apps differently and raise security issues. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer stated that the Senate will review the legislation. Maria Cantwell, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, stated that she is considering a separate bill and wants legislation “that could hold up in court.” She is unsure of her next course of action, though. Cantwell will be crucial to the Senate’s decision-making process.

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