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The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Biden Signs Possible TikTok Ban Into Law

What Does The Newly Enacted Ban Mean For The Millions of American Users?

Officially on Wednesday, April 24th, the long proposed ban on TikTok was officially signed into law; however, the makers behind the app are not going down without a fight. 

Reasoning Behind The Ban

The popular app was first launched in China as “Douyin” in 2016, and launched internationally as “TikTok” in 2017. The app remains as Douyin in China in order to comply with Chinese restrictions. 

Lawmakers have raised concerns surrounding the fact the parent company of TikTok, Byte-Dance, which possible has ties with  the Chinese communist government, and has access to highly sensitive information. 

FBI Director, Christopher Wray testified on Capitol Hill that the app “Screams out with national security concerns”

U.S. officials fear the app is being utilized by the Chinese government in order to spy on and access the data of American users, and spread disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Several months ago there was a heavily publicized congressional hearing on the matter; with TikTok’s CEO, Show Chew. 

However, mentions of a possible nationwide ban on the app have been mentioned since Donald Trump was still in office back in 2020.

Up until this point, a full nationwide ban has been unsuccessful and only have passed for certain devices. Being officially banned for use on federally owned devices and devices owned by state governments in 39 states.

The closest to a full ban happening was in late 2023, when Montana passed a ban for all devices in the state, before a federal judge would block it from taking effect. 

The Law

The newly-enacted law just signed by President Joe Biden will ban TikTok if its Chinese-based parent company, Byte-Dance, does not sell the platform within a year. 

However, hypocritically the Biden campaign will continue to remain on the app, and they have no intentions on leaving it; as Rob Flaherty, the Deputy Manager of Biden’s reelection campaign, states:

“We would be silly to write off any place where people are getting information about the president.”

The approved bill also includes 95 billion dollars in foreign aid; which will be divided 3 ways, with 60 million for Ukraine, 26 million for Israel, and 8 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies. 

The law received widespread bipartisan support from both legislatures, with the House of Representatives voting 360-58, and the Senate voting 79-18. 

Hasty Response From Byte-Dance

The Chinese company however shows no signs of compliance, TikTok’s CEO, Show Chew, stating in an official response stated that:

“Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere” and that “The facts of the constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again”. 

Currently no official lawsuit has been filed, but one is to be expected and could take some time; having the potential of reaching the Supreme Court.

What Does The Ban Mean? 

With the ban certainly facing legal challenges, it is possible, and realistic to expect for a ban to take years to go into effect. 

If one is to take into effect, TikTok will not be removed from the phones of existing users, but Apple and Google app stores will no longer be able to offer to download the app, and any new updates will cease.

Unsettling Facts About TikTok’s Privacy Policy 

TikTok, through its privacy policy, collects and has access to a highly alarming amount of access to sensitive information on your phone. 

According to the University of Ottawa, this highly sensitive information includes:

  • Email addresses, 
  • Phone numbers, 
  • Content you upload, 
  • Keystroke patterns (words you type),
  • Battery level, 
  • Audio settings, 
  • Mobile carrier, 
  • Wireless connections, 
  • Device brand and model
  • Browsing history, 
  • Ways of consuming data
  • Searches
  • Apps
  • File names and types
  • Messages and times of being sent, read, and received
  • Age
  • Image
  • Personal contacts
  • Relationship status
  • Preferences
  • Photos stored on phone not directly shared with TikTok
  • And more

Closing Thoughts

It will more than likely be years before any official ban of TikTok comes to fruition, as litigation will more than likely be filed, and continue to move through the levels of the court system. 

So, if you are someone who does not mind having TikTok having access to all of that highly sensitive information that was previously listed, and more; then you can continue to mindlessly scroll video after video in peace.

Sources and Citations

NPR – President Biden signs law to ban TikTok nationwide unless it is sold

Kaspersky – TikTok privacy and security – Is TikTok safe to use?

University of Ottawa – Recommendations regarding TikTok use and privacy risks

CNA – CNA Explains: TikTok could be banned in the US. What would that mean for the rest of the world?

NBC News  –  Congress approved a TikTok ban. Why it could still be years before it takes effect.

Forbes – These 39 States Already Ban TikTok From Government Devices

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About the Contributor
Jacob Moquin
Jacob Moquin, Opinion Editor
Jacob Moquin is a part of the Class of 2024 at Ludlow High School. This is his first year as a writer for the Cub. He is also a part of Leading Lions and LHS cares, and was the former Vice President of the French Club. Outside of school and sleeping he enjoys partaking in painting and looking through his telescope on a clear night. After graduating, Jacob plans on pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine and aspires to have a practice of his own. However for the time being he plans on sharing his many opinions for readers to enjoy.

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