Never has TikTok been more well-known or contentious.
Not only does the short-form video platform dominate online culture. From the Corn Kid remix to Louis Theroux’s “Jiggle Jiggle,” it moulds it.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are not even close to matching its magical grip on our phones and attention spans, especially among young people.
The issue? China.
The Chinese business ByteDance owns TikTok. TikTok came under scrutiny during both the Trump and Biden administrations because to its business dealings with Beijing.
Chinese eavesdropping is a concern for the Biden administration.
The United States is concerned that TikTok may come under pressure to give Chinese authorities access to user information on Americans or that it may be used as a tool for propaganda against Americans.
By storing U.S. consumers’ personal information outside of China, TikTok claims to protect their privacy and does not share any information with Beijing.
TikTok may jeopardise national security, according to Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. Theoretically, TikTok might give the Chinese intelligence community aggregate or individual data about Americans. Alternatively TikTok might tamper with its algorithmic recommendation system to downplay content that criticises the Chinese government or to push propaganda from within China. There is no proof that either is being done by TikTok.
“TikTok will have a hard battle,”
This week, the Biden administration asked that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their interests or risk being banned, which brought the matter to a head.
According to TikTok, the request was made by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), a federal task force that evaluates national security concerns in international corporate transactions.
Trump attempted to outlaw TikTok, but James Lewis, senior vice president and director of the strategic technologies programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the ban was overturned in court because it was so poorly written. This administration has been far more cautious, thus TikTok will face a difficult battle.
CEO of TikTok Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress.
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, will make his first appearance before a Congressional committee on Thursday when he testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
With tensions with China rising and worries about the negative impacts of social media at an all-time high, Chew’s congressional testimony will probably be welcomed with a bipartisan buzzsaw.
Politicians have begun to discuss outlawing TikTok. So, this might prevent all 150 million of you from using TikTok, Chew remarked in a video on Tuesday.
Chew is anticipated to persuade Americans that selling TikTok to a U.S. business will not resolve national security issues.
There would be more challenges in a sale. Few businesses could afford to pay the sum that was asked. Also, the sale would require approval from the Chinese government.
This week, I’ll testify before Congress to discuss all we’re doing to safeguard Americans who use the app, Chew said.
Why would TikTok be prohibited? National security, China
These guarantees haven’t stopped states throughout the nation and more than a dozen other nations from enacting TikTok limits or outright bans. The White House instructed federal organisations 30 days last month to get rid of TikTok from all phones and networks. TikTok has also been prohibited at colleges because to national security issues.
Lewis claims there’s a legitimate reason behind this.
What would occur if TikTok were outlawed in the US?
If TikTok is prohibited in the US, the Apple and Google app stores may take it down. Users would be unable to receive updates, and new users would be unable to register.
According to Bruce Schneier, Harvard Kennedy School lecturer and author of “A Hacker’s Mind,” Americans may still access TikTok via browsers or by “sideloading” the app onto their phones.
Additionally, the United States can forbid American businesses from doing business with TikTok, cutting it off from the infrastructure required to maintain the service. Also, that would hurt TikTok’s advertising revenue.
The most severe action, in Schneier’s opinion, would be for Congress to outlaw TikTok usage within the United States. At that point, a national firewall, similar to the one China deploys to spy on its citizens and censor the internet, would be required by the government.