US could ban TikTok

Internet censorship

Published 8 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
US officials claim that TikTok is controlled by the Chinese government.

A US congressional panel has approved a bill that could soon force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the popular app within six months or face a ban.

The measure, introduced by another House committee and backed by the White House, is justified on the grounds that the app and its owner allegedly threaten US national security.

TikTok itself argues that the proposed legislation would severely damage free speech and the many American small businesses that rely on the app to reach customers – it has even encouraged its users to call members of Congress to express their opposition to the proposal and ask them to vote against it, and a large number of users have done just that.

A Senate vote is expected as early as next week on the bill, which was drafted by the bipartisan group that makes up the Select Committee on China’s Communist Party Activities.

It claims to “protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications” and suggests that TikTok and its owner ByteDance have direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party – something both ByteDance and TikTok themselves deny.

“America’s greatest adversary”

The proposal requires ByteDance to sell TikTok within six months – otherwise the app will be removed from all major mobile app stores in the US.

– America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States, said committee Republican Chairman Mike Gallagher, echoing Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, who said TikTok poses “critical threats to our national security” and that its parent company is “obligated to cooperate” with China’s leadership.

“This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs”, TikTok executives said on X.

Civil liberties groups in the US are also critical of the proposal, saying it is about “scoring cheap political points in an election year” and that many Americans rely on the app for information and communication.

Less censorship on TikTok?

It’s worth noting that former President Donald Trump also tried unsuccessfully to ban TikTok during his time in office, again citing concerns about links to Chinese leaders.

However, others argue that US and EU policymakers are hostile to TikTok not primarily because of the app’s links to China, but because many videos and topics that are censored on other platforms are widely shared on TikTok, such as Israel’s abuses during the Gaza war.

“Thanks to this app, young people in the US watched the genocide in Gaza live. Thanks to this application, Biden lost a huge number of voters”, says Twiter/X user Megatron.

TNT is truly independent!

We don’t have a billionaire owner, and our unique reader-funded model keeps us free from political or corporate influence. This means we can fearlessly report the facts and shine a light on the misdeeds of those in power.

Consider a donation to keep our independent journalism running…