The White House has made a historic move toward a nationwide ban on the Chinese-owned TikTok. The Biden administration backed bi-partisan legislation introduced by over ten Senators on Tuesday, making it easier for U.S. governments to ban TikTok. However, TikTok is just one of many platforms that might be in trouble as the legislation would allow the government’s flexibility to restrict any other foreign-based technology that poses a risk to national security.
The talks about banning the trendy micro-video social media platform have been going on for years, but the U.S. government has yet to act against the app’s nationwide mass use. TikTok is extremely popular in the USA. The ByteDance-owned app currently has over 100 million users and has been one of the fastest-growing apps in the world, its 2+ billion global users. According to the bill introduced early this week, the ban could affect other technologies from countries such as China, North Korea, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran.
The ban is not immediate, but the possibility of TikTok being kicked out of the U.S. market is rising. TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew has been summoned to appear before Congress later this month. The hearing is scheduled for March 23rd, 2023. The Singaporean entrepreneur will be given a chance to elaborate on the actions TikTok is taking to resolve privacy concerns and to mitigate the risks to national security.
Last year the U.S. House of Representatives blocked its members and staff from having the app on their official devices. Staffers and House reps were told they have 30 days to remove the app from their official smart devices due to many security issues. The same rule applies to every federal agency employee in the U.S. The ban is only for official devices, and government employees can still access TikTok on their personal devices.
The U.S. is not the only country considering bans on the app. Canada also approved a federal ban on TikTok that applies to all government-issued devices. Similar to the concerns in the U.S., Canada also quoted user privacy as a primary reason to request the ban.
The possible connection between the Chinese Communist Party’s relationship and ByteDance is one of the main reasons a nationwide ban is considered. However, no one knows if this move from the White House is not just political theater, as the talks about getting the app banned have been going on for years.