The House Passes a Ban on Tik Tok, Triggering a Senate Meeting

By Tyler Patel 

March 20, 2024
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew at the Senate Conference

On Wednesday, March 13th, the House approved the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which calls for China to remove popular social media platform, TikTok in the U.S. This is the second time that China has been accused of capturing data from the U.S. The first time was in December of 2022, when individuals were posting adult content on a kids app. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future as senators feel divided about the legislation. 

According to CNBC, “TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew expressed dismay to TikTok users over what he described as a "disappointing vote in the House of Representatives," and said that the bill "gives more power to a handful of other social media companies" and that “it also take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses.” Although Chew claims that over the last few years, TikTok has invested to keep our data safe in this platform, members of the senate refute his argument that the Chinese government has never asked TikTok for its data. In effect, the bill would give ByteDance, the Chinese parent company a choice: either sell TikTok, or retain control and be banned from U.S. app stores.

Although this event is causing many controversies, the citizens are hoping to keep the social media app as a means of promoting business and a better standard of living. The Senate’s decision to ban TikTok will have significant consequences on the population, particularly among its young users. In a recent article by CNN, “there have been instances where teenagers have resorted to self-harm when deprived of access to TikTok. Therefore, the platform has provided an impact on their emotional well-being.” While some may argue that TikTok being banned can cause many issues, it prevents the younger population from becoming addicted to the app. 

Their decision could not only bring tensions to the residents of the United States, but also between the United States and China. TikTok, owned by ByteDance, is based in China, leading to suspicions of its ties to the Chinese government. The plan to abolish TikTok signals a shift in the digital landscape presenting an opportunity for innovation and disruption in the social media landscape, and as users seek alternatives, new contenders may emerge and offer safer alternatives to the concerns about data privacy and insecurities. The ban raises broader questions about freedom of expression, economic impact, as well as international relations. As policymakers navigate these issues, it remains to be seen how the abolition of TikTok will reshape the social media landscape and its broader implications for society, if the bill is passed.