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Tick-Tock TikTok: U.S. Enforces a Ban on the Social Platform

Daniel Kim Views  

FILES-US-IT-INTERNET-TIKTOK
AFP·Yonhap News

Enforcing a ban on TikTok, the Chinese-based video-sharing platform in the United States, will likely require several years, and a complete prohibition appears highly unlikely.

This is due to TikTok’s indication of a legal challenge, arguing that such legislation infringes upon freedom of expression and is unconstitutional. Resolving this legal dispute could take years before reaching a final verdict. Furthermore, users in the United States can continue accessing the platform by bypassing restrictions with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement released on the 24th (local time), “We believe that the facts and the law are clearly on our side and we will ultimately win.” CEO Chew Shou Zi said in a video message, “Rest assured. We are not going anywhere.”

President Joe Biden signed the TikTok forced sale bill, which received strong backing in both the House on the 20th and the Senate on the 23rd, alongside the national security bill providing support to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

As a result, ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company of TikTok, is mandated to sell the U.S. business rights of TikTok within 270 days. The U.S. president retains the authority to extend this deadline by an additional 90 days if negotiations for the sale are underway. Failure to comply with the sale will result in the prohibition of TikTok’s services in the United States.

US-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-AID
AFP·Yonhap News

Even if TikTok loses in the constitutional lawsuit, over 170 million Americans who have already installed the app can continue to use it for a considerable duration. However, with TikTok vanishing from Apple and Google’s app stores, new downloads will cease, and the platform will no longer receive updates, security patches, or bug fixes. This scenario, as analyzed by the AP, raises security concerns over time, ultimately rendering the app unusable.

AP outlined that it’s feasible for TikTok’s primary user base, teenagers, to circumvent the ban imposed by the U.S. government. They can employ tactics such as masking their location with a VPN, accessing alternative app stores, or inserting a foreign SIM card into their smartphones.

Furthermore, it’s noted that residents of authoritarian nations like China and Russia frequently utilize VPNs to access significant apps that are otherwise banned.

CEO Chew TikTok Capture

During a morning press conference at the White House, President Biden refrained from explicitly addressing TikTok following the official signing of the national security bill and the TikTok forced sale bill.

This cautious approach appears to sidestep any potential contradiction, as stating “Using TikTok poses a risk to U.S. national security” might clash with the Biden administration’s active engagement with TikTok as part of their campaign strategy.

NBC News reported that the Biden campaign has confirmed its intention to continue its use of TikTok throughout the election period, despite the impending implementation of the TikTok forced sale law in January next year.

A Biden campaign official said, “Because of the fragmented media environment, we need to go where the voters are and meet them, which includes online,” and “TikTok is one of many places where we are trying to make sure our content is clearly shown to voters.”

The Biden campaign initially said it would not use TikTok for the election campaign. However, it created an account in February and posted nearly 120 videos, some of which feature President Biden himself.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the former president, has not joined TikTok and is using his social media, Truth Social.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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