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"TikTok"... Time's Up!

By Disha Chakraborty

Tensions have risen over the possible government ban of the popular Chinese social media platform, TikTok, and this is not the first time the United States has seen this issue. In 2020, former President Trump issued executive orders that would have banned TikTok from operating in the United States to address national security concerns, yet those orders were blocked by the courts. However, it, once again, seems possible that the popular social media app is doomed.

As of February 27, 2023, federal agencies in America were to delete TikTok from all government-issued devices due to security concerns. Since then, the House of Representatives has made attempts to remove TikTok from the United States, voting to further a bill proposed to give President Biden the full authority to ban the app. Despite TikTok’s 150 million American TikTok users daily, most U.S. politicians have agreed to take action against it. This has created backlash from not only the general American public, but also NHP’s students.

“I believe that TikTok helps connect us to others worldwide, and we learn a lot about the world around us,” junior Alvina Chau said. “It also creates a community and helps us feel connected, so I feel like the ban is wrong and won’t benefit us.”

The RESTRICT Act, which is the bill that would ban TikTok, is designed to give power to the government to ban technology if it is owned by a foreign adversary or if the government finds the app’s content to be inappropriate. Although the bill makes no mention of banning TikTok, it is strongly implied due to recent social uproar. The bill also criminalizes the use of VPNs to bypass banned content and contact with foreign adversaries results in a minimum fine of $250,000 and 20 years in prison. For this bill to run, the Secretary of Commerce would examine communication with foreign adversaries, expanding the power of the federal government. This bill is concerning to many, as it gives the government the power to censor people on social media and have access to their private messages.

Source by Suha Tasfia

On a TikTok user's ForYou Page is a video of CEO Shou Zi Chew discussing the recent TikTok crisis with the United States Congress.

The issue of what is to be done about TikTok is one of few bipartisan issues in the United States. On March 22, 2023, TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew appeared against Congress in a hearing that lasted almost six hours. Early on in the hearing, it was evident that much of Congress unanimously agreed that TikTok was unsafe. This hearing was later to be heavily criticized and made viral, as many Congress members stated that they did not believe Mr. Chew and interrupted him from talking on multiple accounts. Overall, the main issue that politicians are having with TikTok is its ownership in China. As of April 17, Montana became the first U.S. state to ban TikTok, with a full ban being possibly implemented as early as January 2024. It is likely that other states will begin to implement similar laws.

Generally, NHP students seem to not take the possible ban seriously.

“It’s never gonna happen because we smooch off of China’s economy and we need them,” sophomore Emilin George said. “The amount of backlash would be ridiculous. It’s one of those things that people keep revisiting every couple years, but it dies away after a while.”

“In my opinion it’s really stupid,” senior Ethan Chun said. “Lots of people making the decision don’t really know what they’re talking about; they didn’t even know that Shou Zi Chew was Singaporean, not Chinese. I feel like the decision to try and ban it is based on paranoia.”


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