Is TikTok about to be banned in America?
The popular social media app might be best known for viral dance crazes and other silly videos. But TikTok is owned by a China-based company, raising concerns that it’s a tool that might be used for purposes that harm U.S. national security. A number of states — including Maryland, South Dakota, Texas, and others — have recently banned or blocked the app from phones and other devices used by their workers.
There is also talk of stronger action: Brendan Carr, an FCC commissioner, recently called for the federal government to ban TikTok, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill to do just that. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is working on a deal to let the company operate while addressing security concerns. Why do U.S. officials see TikTok as a problem? And what can they actually do? Here’s everything you need to know:
Influence and espionage. Social media apps are regularly scrutinized for their influence over Americans — witness the brouhahas over Facebook’s role in the 2016 election and Twitter’s role in blocking a story about Hunter Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. TikTok comes with a twist: It’s owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance. “It isn’t an arm of the Chinese Communist Party,” Vox reports, “but Chinese laws say it can be forced to assist the Chinese government.”
That raises concerns that Chinese officials could influence Americans by manipulating the app algorithm. Bloomberg notes that an American teenager was banned from the platform in 2019 for criticizing China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs, though that ban was later lifted. And like other social media apps, TikTok collects vast amounts of data on its users — a big reason that states are now banning the app from government devices. “All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in December. “That should concern us.”
TikTok doesn’t want to lose its American audience, obviously. (Officials have acknowledged that China-based workers can access some info, but says TikTok hasn’t actually turned over data to the government.) So the company has launched “Project Texas,” an effort to “isolate sensitive data from its American users so that only staff in the U.S. will have access.” That’s an expensive undertaking, but TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew seems to think it’s worth it. “I’m very confident that … we will come up with a solution that will reasonably address the national security concerns,” he said in November. But that effort clearly hasn’t allayed the concerns of American officials.
In August 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order that essentially banned TikTok and another app, WeChat, from the United States. The ban never went into effect — there were the usual legal challenges — and in June 2021, the Biden administration reversed the order alongside a promise to evaluate the risks of China-based apps to U.S. national security. But even some Democrats have come around to the notion that Trump was right the first time. “As painful as it is for me to say, if Donald Trump was right and we could’ve taken action then, that’d have been a heck of a lot easier than trying to take action in November of 2022,” Warner told Vox. “The sooner we bite the bullet, the better.”
Yes. “Postings on TikTok are protected by the First Amendment since they are a form of speech,” James Andrew Lewis writes for the Center for Strategic & International Studies. “This means they cannot be banned any more than a person who wishes to access Russian propaganda can be banned from reading Pravda or RT.” That presents obstacles to any government action to ban the app outright. “The free-speech implications … are clear, not only for the individuals who wish to speak, but for the community they have created,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a 2020 filing challenging Trump’s ban. But if the First Amendment is a hindrance to blocking the app from most American users, state governments are free to keep their employees from using TikTok on government-owned devices.
The Biden administration has been negotiating with TikTok to ensure the security of American user data. But the talks have “run into delays,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “The company had previously reached a tentative deal with the U.S. government this summer, but senior U.S. officials, including at the Justice Department, don’t believe that proposed agreement is adequate.” TikTok has agreed to store U.S. data on a server owned by the company Oracle. CNBC reports that observers think that a ban is ultimately unlikely — but not impossible. Instead, the feds may pressure ByteDance to sell the app to non-Chinese owners. “We continue to believe TikTok will survive in the U.S.,” one analyst told the network. But, he said, it’s a “close call.”
The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe
5 cartoons about Brittney Griner’s release
Incoming Gen Z congressman can’t rent an apartment in Washington, D.C.
The top priority for the lame-duck session of Congress should be to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887, writes Erwin Chemerinsky. | Opinion
More than 70 House and Senate members sent a letter to President Biden on Friday to urge him to do everything he can to guarantee rail workers have seven days of paid sick leave. The lawmakers thanked Biden for his role in negotiating an agreement between freight rail carriers and unionized rail workers to avoid…
Penn State receiver Parker Washington declared for the 2023 NFL draft on Friday. He announced the decision on social media. Washington, a junior, had an undisclosed injury Nov. 22 that ended his season prematurely. “Thank you my family and coaches for the discussions, for helping me weight the pros and cons, for helping me choose [more]
Section 3 girls basketball scores from the Oneida, Herkimer and surrounding Mohawk Valley leagues for the 2022-23 season.
Yes, your home is a financial investment. But a lot of your life will unfold here. Don’t live in a house you’ve designed for somebody else.
The Money Saving Expert recommends ‘small electrical items for heating the person’
This week, social media made me do this.View Entire Post ›
Ronnie Turner, the son of music icon Tina Turner, has died, his family said.
Why is there a lack of workers in the labor market?
The space reopened in 2011, but not before a renovation was executed by Daniel Libeskind. Designed in the Early Renaissance style of architecture, the structure was eventually converted into a museum at the end of the 19th century. More than a century later, a museum renovation included the addition of a sleek modern building.
STORY: In Beijing, streets were largely empty on Saturday (December 10) – shopping malls deserted.China's dismantlement of its zero-COVID policy may be gathering pace – but the move appears to being met with caution by residents such as this 18-year-old student, surnamed Tan."I'm really afraid of being infected, because the number of infected people is growing gradually in Beijing. But I must come out and run some errands today. I have been delaying going outside for three weeks due to COVID."After widespread protests, Chinese authorities switched course from the zero-COVID policy.Whilst that has been welcomed by a weary public, concerns have also been stoked that infections could spike.With less testing now required and those with mild to no symptoms allowed to quarantine at home, the focus has shifted to ensuring adequate provisions of medicines and shoring up the country's healthcare system.On Saturday China said it would stop checking truck drivers and ship crew transporting good domestically for COVID-19.That removes a key bottleneck from a supply chain that had been thrown into disarray earlier this year by requirements for those involved in goods transportation to show negative COVID test results or health codes at check points.Authorities said removing those curbs was aimed at ensuring the smooth supply of medicines and items such as antigen kits.Long queues have formed at pharmacies in many Chinese cities by people looking to buy cough medicines, flu drugs and masks.Over the weekend the state market regulator warned against price gouging in anti-COVID products.
The holidays bring everyone together, no matter what you’re celebrating. Looking for local Hanukkah or Kwanzaa celebrations in Kansas City? We’ve got you covered.
(Bloomberg) — New Zealand’s ruling Labour Party lost a seat in a by-election, adding to signs that support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s administration is waning ahead of a nationwide vote next year.Most Read from BloombergPutin Says Russia May Add Nuclear First Strike to StrategyHarry and Meghan Throw the Gauntlet to William and KateThe Harry and Meghan Show Is a Royal KnockoutCaroline Ellison Hires SEC’s Former Top Crypto Cop for FTX probeElon Musk Steps Up Attacks on Twitter’s Former S
KC Star reporter Shreyas Laddha gives his analysis on how the Jayhawks can combat a high-scoring MU team. It all starts with star Kansas freshman Gradey Dick.
The football junkies started arriving an hour before the World Cup ticket centre opened on Saturday even though loud speaker announcements proclaimed there is nothing to sell.
Peru’s newest president, Dina Boluarte, swore in her Cabinet on Saturday just three days after becoming the country’s first female head of state and asked each minister to pledge not to be corrupt while in office. The 17 ministers picked by Boluarte, who on Wednesday was elevated from vice president to replace the ousted Pedro Castillo as the country’s leader, will be key to further inflaming or calming a South American country experiencing a seemingly endemic political crisis. Boluarte presented her centrist government amid demonstrations across Peru calling for her resignation and the scheduling of general elections to replace her and Congress.
The brother of former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for nearly four years, slammed former President Trump on Friday after Trump criticized the Biden administration for the deal it struck to free WNBA star Brittney Griner but not Whelan. David Whelan said in a post on Twitter that Trump seems to…
During her time in the Senate, Kyrsten Sinema stopped Democrats from raising taxes on the rich. Now a GOP-led House will have to take that on.
The holidays can be a stressful time for any family and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may have a bit of the blues right now. They attended a yacht party in Miami recently and the air around the normally affectionate couple was apparently a bit chilly. A Page Six source described them as “cold” around […]
Authentic has dropped the Arizona senator after she announced she was leaving the Democratic Party.
Is TikTok about to be banned in America?