TikTok is the world’s most prominent social media application, with over one billion active users.
Social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are struggling.
TikTok has capitalized on the complacency and taken the market by storm.
TikTok has become popular with the younger generation across America. But, it has not come without concern and criticism over data management and security.
This article will look at the possibility of a TikTok ban in the U.S. and whether that is workable.
Unless you live under a digital rock, chances are you have seen some short videos on TikTok. Whether it be from the social media app itself, or reposts on other social media sites, TikTok videos are everywhere.
Since the pandemic’s start, TikTok has risen to become one of the most popular apps for Generation Z.
Many believe it could harm America and its international reputation and security.
Has it Gotten Banned Before?
Former President Donald Trump shared these concerns. In August 2020, he attempted to ban TikTok due to national security concerns.
But, he changed this stance a week later, ordering ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell its U.S. branch to an American firm.
ByteDance held discussions with leading American firms Oracle, Walmart, and Facebook. But after high-profile influencers filed lawsuits, the threat of a ban fizzled out.
Biden rescinded the proposal in 2021 when he came into office, but that did not mean he didn’t see the threat to national security.
While it has never gotten banned in the U.S., India has banned TikTok. As recently as 2019, TikTok was the most downloaded app in India, but it got banned by June 2020.
India had similar security concerns as the U.S.
As the country is not as well-known for taking a free-speech approach to government, they shut the application down.
Why Would America Ban TikTok?
Since it burst onto the scene, there have been plenty of concerns surrounding the security in place on TikTok.
In recent times, TikTok has tried to lessen these concerns by moving users’ data to Virginia from Chinese servers.
Yet, it is still unknown whether the Chinese government can access U.S. user data in the back end.
These concerns have not led to an immediate ban on TikTok. Still, many government agencies have banned the use of it on government devices. This action tells you everything you need to know about how seriously they are taking this issue.
Those in charge in America are also concerned about the impact that TikTok is having on the younger generation.
China’s version of TikTok, known as Douyin, differs from the Western version. It focuses much more on what content gets shared with the younger audience.
For starters, users under 14 cannot use TikTok for more than 40 minutes between 6 am and 10 pm.
It also handles insensitive or controversial content with much more strictness and swiftness. Any content deemed antagonistic towards the government or harmful to the population gets flagged. It is then removed fast.
In comparison, TikTok has claimed to ban any political advertising on its platform. But a report by Fortune showed that over 90% of fake political ads still got through the system.
Will TikTok Ever Get Banned in America?
India has proven that it is possible to ban TikTok in a country, but many more problems and proof would need to arise first.
Trying to ban TikTok in 2020 was almost impossible, and its user base and popularity have skyrocketed even further. The added popularity would lead to even more backlash from influencers and users.
We live in a time when the government are not popular, and this decision would only make that worse.
India’s political system and culture also differ from the U.S. culture. Free speech is a contested subject in America, and many would see the ban as a breach of their first amendment rights.
Don’t expect to see a full ban on TikTok in America any time soon. The popularity of TikTok means that any president that attempts to impose a ban on the app will be conducting political suicide.
With more young people voting than ever before, no one wants to alienate generation Z, and banning TikTok could have an impact that big.
At best, the government will try to help other social media brands take away some of its popularity. Still, with all the direct competitors suffering from their own issues currently, that is unlikely to have much effect.
If a government leader did decide to commit political suicide for the good of the nation, even then, there is no clear way to ban TikTok. The FCC has no jurisdiction surrounding this subject, and neither does the Pentagon.
The only businesses that could play a big part in the process would be Google and Apple if they banned it from their app stores, but no one can force them to do so.
As it is the most downloaded app in the store right now, what is their incentive to do so?
All this culminated in the likely outcome that TikTok will not get banned.
Until there is solid proof of data breaches and the public perception changes, the app will continue to live on and prosper in America.