TikTok to be banned in USA due to national security concerns

Deborah Yakohene
Deborah Yakohene
3 Min Read

The US Senate has passed a bill that could lead to the banning of TikTok in the United States due to concerns about national security.

The bill requires TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell its stake within nine months or face a block on the app in the US. The bill was signed by the President on Wednesday, April 24th, 2024.

In response, the CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew has announced plans to take legal action in response to the bill in a tweet on X, stating the platform’s opposition to being forced to sell.

“Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere,” Chew said. “We will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side.”

In addition, the legislation provides a nine-month window for the sale of TikTok, with an additional three-month grace period.

The concerns driving the potential ban stem from worries that TikTok could be exploited for spying or propaganda purposes by the Chinese government. Despite TikTok’s assertions to the contrary, the US remains apprehensive about the potential misuse of user data. The app’s widespread popularity in the US, with over 170 million users, adds another layer of complexity to the situation.

The bill’s passage was part of a larger legislative package that included military aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other US partners in the Indo-Pacific region. The measure garnered significant support in the Senate, with 79 Senators voting in favor and 18 against.

Senator Marco Rubio, the leading Republican on the Intelligence Committee, emphasized the necessity of requiring TikTok’s Chinese owner to sell the app, characterizing it as a positive step for America. Meanwhile, TikTok has raised civil liberties concerns in its defense, arguing that the bill would infringe on the free speech rights of millions of Americans and have significant economic repercussions.

The potential ban has prompted TikTok to mobilize support against the bill, engaging in a major lobbying effort and encouraging users and creators to voice their opposition. Legal experts anticipate a protracted legal battle, with potential delays of up to two years if a buyer for ByteDance’s stake is not secured within the stipulated timeframe.

Story by: Deborah Yakohene | univers.ug.edu.gh

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