Will the United States ban TikTok?

The government thinks it should be.

This image shows the metaphorical control of TikTok by China.

picture-alliance/NurPhoto/J. Porzycki

This image shows the metaphorical control of TikTok by China.

Matthew Gemme, Staff Writer

Tiktok was created in September 2016 by a Chinese app development company named ByteDance and has been downloaded more than one billion times. TikTok is the successor to the 2014 app Musically, which was also a very popular app.

The app broke records, soared in profits and popularity, and was a huge part of many Americans’ daily routines until perceptions changed. On August 6th, 2020, President Donald Trump unexpectedly issued an executive order that stated that the United States assessed that TikTok had spyware built into their system that reported to the Chinese Government and is a danger to national security.

This image shows the double use of the app TikTok. (Erik Carter for BuzzFeed News)

In this order, Trump outlined a plan to ban TikTok in the United States if TikTok’s parent company did not relocate its command system to the United States or allows third-party moderation from an American company.

Then a US court halted the order, saying that the order was caused by Donald Trump overstepping his executive powers that was supposed to be used for emergency economic orders given to the president after the Great Depression.

When President Joe Biden took office, he revoked many presidential orders issued by Trump including the one to ban Tiktok. However, Biden did not entirely dismiss the potential dangers and instead ordered an official investigation to take place in which the task was to determine if TikTok posed a national security risk to the United States.

In June 2022 the results of the investigation were in and the results were mind-opening, the report explained that Donald Trump’s assessment of China accessing data on Americans was correct and China was found to have routinely assessed the sensitive data. After this many government officials called for a ban on government devices citing national security risks. Before the spyware was officially found in 2020, India became the first Country in the world to ban TikTok citing suspicion of security risks.

In December 2022, United States Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill in Congress to ban TikTok on all Government officials’ personal and work devices.

The bill passed in the United States Senate and has since been recently introduced in the House of Representatives awaiting a vote. On March 2, 2023, the Country of Canada banned TikTok on all government devices.

Senator Josh Hawley proposes the No TikTok on Government Devices Act (AP)

As of writing this article, over half of the states in the United States have banned TikTok from government officials’ devices and other devices in the household of government officials. Four days ago the Biden Administration officially announced that Federal agencies have 90 days to ban TikTok on government devices.

More legislative action is possible to come in the future but people at this point can only guess the fate of TikTok in the United States. If I were to guess, I predict that TikTok will only be banned on government devices and will not be banned entirely in the United States as it creates great income.

China has been very vocal in their defense of the app TikTok and has condemned the thought of any country banning the app. This, of course, was received by the United States and the world as China trying to deflect suspicion away from their app and spyware application.

TikTok makes huge profits solely based on the United States market and China wants to protect this source of income by any means possible. In 2022 TikTok recorded a profit of 11.04 billion dollars. This is a huge amount of money that China does get a large chunk of in addition to the potential data the app collects the app could prove invaluable to China and other foreign adversities to the United States.