US wants to kick out TikTok


On Tuesday, the US Senate voted in favor of a bill that would ban TikTok, the short-form video app, in the US, or could result in its forced sale.

A total of 79 senators voted in favor of the bill, with 18 against it, reported The Guardian. The bill is now being referred to pres. Joe Biden for approval referred. The US president has previously indicated that he intends to sign it.

Under the new legislation, ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, has a year to sell the popular social media platform to an American company. If he doesn’t, the app could be banned altogether from all US app stores.

However, the company is not going to accept it without more and a major legal battle is expected.

The company argues that the decision will deprive the app’s approximately 170 million American users of, among other things, their right to freedom of speech.

The senate’s plans will probably also get the wind from TikTok’s content creators who rely on the platform to earn an income, reports Sky News.

The bill is a peak in ongoing fears on both sides of the political spectrum in Washington about TikTok’s ownership. For years, politicians and officials in the US have expressed concern that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over US users’ data.

TikTok argues that this request has never come and it would not agree to such a request either.

The use of TikTok by the federal government’s nearly four million officials on government-owned devices has already been banned in the US. There are limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes.

Maria Cantwell, chairwoman of the Senate’s trade committee, said according to Sky News that the move to force the sale of TikTok was not aimed at “punishing” ByteDance, TikTok or other companies.

“Congress is acting to prevent foreign adversaries from spying, conducting surveillance, or conducting malicious missions that harm vulnerable Americans, our service members, and U.S. government officials,” Cantwell said.

Why the ban?

TikTok has attracted around 170 million US users to the platform within seven years.

Beijing-based tech firm ByteDance originally launched the Chinese version of the app, called Douyin, which means “shaking sound”, in 2016. He followed up in November 2017 with the international version called TikTok.

Since then, the platform has had incredible success. Fueled by its popularity with generation Z, it has become an influential social media platform. However, there are extensive concerns about the security of users’ data.

India was the first country to ban TikTok in 2020. The decision followed a violent clash on the border between India and China that claimed the lives of at least 20 Indian soldiers.

TikTok is also not available in app stores in China. In China, the state controls the internet extremely tightly and the Douyin version is used there.

  • Sources: Sky News, The Guardian