President Trump on Friday announced that he plans on banning TikTok from the U.S.
Why would he do such a thing?
The administration is saying that a ban is necessary due to national security concerns. TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance whose headquarters are located in Hong Kong. Lawmakers and officials fear that the Chinese government is using the app to spy on Americans and could influence the upcoming election.
Are there any more concerns?
Well, yes. TikTok is known amongst Gen Z (who makes up 60% of the app’s users) to be a way to disseminate information that has long been withheld from mainstream media. Videos of protests against racism, information about unsealed government documents, and more have found their way to the platform, sidestepping traditional media that is controlled by a few wealthy elites. Back in June, users rallied to reserve tickets to President Trump’s Juneteenth rally in Tulsa, surprising the country with their ability to organize from across the country and world. Some believe that the administration wants to shut down the app for fear of attacks against Trump’s reelection campaign.
Is there any hope of saving TikTok?
It seems like there’s a good chance that TikTok will be here to stay. ByteDance’s CEO recently confirmed that the U.S. will force the company to sell off its U.S. operations so that the app may remain available in the country. Microsoft has stepped in, and after meeting with the president, said that a deal with ByteDance was on the table and undergoing a security review.
A revised platform.
Microsoft already has plans to build on the current structure of the app but with added “world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.” Some, however, fear that information will not be allowed to flow as freely as it once did on the app once it transfers to American hands. Concerns over censorship and shadow banning were already present on the app, and with the possibility of an American corporation taking the reins, some fear that crucial information will be delayed or even blocked from being shared. However, our beloved dances, recipes, and memes at least seem like they are here to stay.