ByteDance created TikTok in September 2016, and it was the most downloaded application in the United States in October 2018. This popular short-form video platform is the international version of the popular Chinese platform Douyin, and its popularity in America soared after it merged with Musical.ly, which was popular for lip-syncing short videos.
The platform allows people to create and share short videos online or simply watch entertaining or informational videos. The platform became so popular globally that the short-form video format was quickly adopted by Instagram and Facebook as Stories.
Although the platform has garnered a lot of attention and won the hearts of many, the platform has recently come under heavy scrutiny from the US government. There’s also a proposal to ban TikTok in the USA that has been doing the rounds, and it has garnered bipartisan support.
This guide offers information on why the US government is eager to ban TikTok. But before that, let us tell you why you needn’t go into panic mode thinking your favorite platform won’t be available anymore. It is possible to unblock the platform in banned countries, including the USA. You can get TikTok unblocked by using a VPN. Popular VPNs for unlocking TikTok are ClearVPN, Express VPN, and NordVPN.
Now, let’s refocus on why the US government wants to ban TikTok.
Reasons Why the US Government Wants to Ban TikTok
An investigation into TikTok was launched on March 17, 2023 by the US Department of Justice and FBI, alleging the company spied on American journalists. This isn’t the first time that the government has threatened to ban the platform. The Trump administration had tried to block the application in 2020 using its emergency power.
But why? Well, there are several reasons for this drastic move. Some of them are as follows:
● Concerns Regarding User Privacy and Data Security
The app’s data collection practices are among the foremost reasons the American government wants to ban TikTok. The platform collects a lot of user data, including personal information, browsing history, and location data. The data is stored on servers located in China, and this raises questions about the Chinese government’s access to this data.
In 2019, ByteDance was ordered by CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) to divest its American operations due to national security concerns. However, the company hasn’t fully complied with the order, and this has fueled graver concerns about the company’s willingness to protect user data.
User privacy is also an important concern because the app has been accused of monitoring the activities of users across other websites and apps. This monitoring is apparently done even when the users are not actively using TikTok. Therefore, this raises concerns about the possibility of targeted advertising and potential surveillance.
● National Security Risks
The government has raised concerns that the application might be used by the Chinese government to spread propaganda and misinformation or to collect intelligence on American citizens. Since the platform has a wide reach and attracts a young audience, it makes TikTok an effective tool for influence operations.
When the Trump administration issued an executive order to ban the platform, the federal courts blocked it. A more cautious approach has been taken by the Biden administration, and they are hoping to negotiate with the company to address national security concerns and data security.
How Does the US Propose to Ban TikTok?
It is not clear how the US will prohibit citizens from using the application on their personal devices. To achieve this, they may have to order the removal of the application from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. However, this still wouldn’t ensure the removal of the app from the devices they are already installed on.
Alternatively, they might take the route taken by the Indian government and force the Internet and telecommunications providers to block the platform.
Personal devices aside, the government has already banned the application on the phones of public and federal sector employees and also on the phones of state employees in thirty-two of fifty states.
What are the Implications of a Ban?
If the platform is completely banned in the USA, it is going to impact the tech industry in general and the users. Millions of users will lose access to the app, which means losing access to their source of entertainment and, for some, source of income.
Furthermore, the ban might raise questions about the potential for government censorship.
The Bottom Line
Nobody knows whether the platform will be completely banned in the USA. Some of the US policymakers are seriously advocating full bans on the platform due to concerns regarding data security and user privacy.
You have to wait and watch to see how the proposal pans out. Stay tuned!