Ban or No Ban? TikTok Faces Critical Moment as its CEO Testifies in Front of Congress
TikTok’s CEO is testifying in front of Congress today — where he’ll try to convince lawmakers that TikTok isn’t a national security threat. You mean this app?
The app is much more than dancing videos now:
- TikTok has 150M monthly active US users — nearly half the US population.
- Nearly a quarter of US adults regularly get news from TikTok.
What are the options? The US is thinking about forcing its parent company, ByteDance, to sell TikTok — or outright ban it in the US.
- It’s the closest the US has gotten to banning TikTok — after Trump tried in 2020 but failed.
- Experts and insiders say China is likely to block a sale of TikTok (FT).
Banning the app also isn’t that simple. Not banning it could make the US look weak — and banning it could hurt free speech and anger users, according to Vox.
Why is TikTok so dangerous? Critics say the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can influence what users see — or that the CCP could access American data.
The app is already banned in India and from government devices in the US, UK, Canada and EU.
- Last year, TikTok admitted to tracking journalists’ physical location — and wouldn’t commit to cutting off data flows to China.
- But no matter what TikTok says, CCP laws require Chinese companies to share data with the government.
Band-aid solution: TikTok is already routing data through its partner Oracle — who’s auditing their algorithms to prevent manipulation from Chinese authorities.
This could impact more than just TikTok: A “TikTok ban could be devastating for modern international trade,” — per Georgetown University professor Anupam Chander.
Good read: “Yes, of course we should ban TikTok” (Noahpinion)