Is Tiktok Now Banned in the US?

With the US government threatening to ban TikTok nationwide, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew tried to defend the social media app in Congress.

With more than one billion active users worldwide, TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps we have today. Despite its immense popularity, however, the social media app has been shrouded in controversy—with many officials around the world declaring that they will ban it on government devices.

In fact, just recently, the United States Congress has rolled out a bill that allows for a nationwide TikTok ban, thereby affecting the country’s 150 million users. Because of this, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has appeared before the US Congress to defend the app against the allegations raised against it. 

What are the Allegations Against TikTok? 

TikTok’s critics often allege that the social media app has data security issues. According to Business Insider, there are “fears that the Chinese parent company ByteDance could be forced into giving user data to the Chinese government, or be pressured into amplifying or suppressing certain topics based on China’s interests.” 

What’s more, TikTok has previously admitted to using “its own app to spy on reporters as part of an attempt to track down the journalists’ sources,” per a report by The Guardian

With that, the US government reportedly wants a change of ownership for TikTok—even threatening a nationwide ban, should the app not comply. It should be noted that the app has already been banned on government devices in certain US states, including Ohio and New Jersey, and even some universities in the country. 

The United States is also not the only country that has banned TikTok from government devices due to alleged security concerns. Australia, Canada, Frances, and the United Kingdom are some of the countries that have banned the app from state devices. Countries such as India and Afghanistan have outright banned the app in their countries. 

The Congress Hearing

With a nationwide ban looming over TikTok users in the US, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before Congress to defend the app. The hearing, which lasted for more than five hours on March 23, showed the Democrats and Republicans putting up a united front against the app. 

“It was really quite something to see so many politicians—who agree on practically nothing—agreeing wholeheartedly that TikTok was a security threat,” media company BBC notes in its report. 

While Shou Zi Chew did make some effort to put some distance between TikTok and its parent company, he made certain admissions that put this into question. In fact, US lawmakers witnessed his confirmation that ByteDance’s engineers in China do have access to some US data. 

“It was an admission that politicians kept coming back to,” the BBC writes. “Their point was that if data can be accessed by engineers in China, it’s hard to see how the Chinese government couldn’t also access it.” 

The TikTok CEO likewise admitted that he does own shares in ByteDance. 

Will the Philippines Ban TikTok? 

A nationwide ban in the United States will significantly hurt TikTok’s business in the country—given the fact that they have 150 million users in the United States. The ban will likewise affect the many users who actually use the app to earn. 

Moreover, content creators have been using the app for their branding and promotions and an outright ban will cut off the earnings that they get from their TikTok content. Many brands and businesses have also relied on TikTok to promote their products and services, and the ban will likely be affected their marketing and sales.

Here in the Philippines, there has been no indication as of press time that the government will follow in the footsteps of the US. But should the government make any moves to ban it in the country, it will definitely be unwelcome news for the 44.4 million users TikTok has here

Featured Photo Credits: Bloomberg