U.S. government considers TikTok ban
The popular video-sharing app TikTok has been under scrutiny by the U.S. government for its ties to the Chinese government. The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok from the U.S. unless its parent company, ByteDance, removes its association with Chinese investors.
With over 150 million U.S. users, TikTok has established itself as a large influence over Americans, but many experts are worried that this influence is being exerted by the Chinese government.
“There is some fear that the Chinese government would have influence over TikTok, influence the algorithm, and maybe push propaganda onto American citizens,” SUNY Oswego communications professor Jason Zenor said.
The U.S. government has been wary of China’s influence to the extent that they required the removal of TikTok on all federal devices and systems last month due to security concerns.
“Well, I think it’s more of a generalized concern about the amount of data that social media companies can collect and the massive amount of users and sort of big data analytics they could collect from consumers to get an understanding of how American citizens sort of operate the culture, the physical culture,” Zenor said.
A bipartisan bill has gained the support of the White House, giving the Biden administration the power to ban TikTok if the country’s national security is threatened.
“We have a new Congress and they’re sort of digging deeper into Chinese operations. Obviously, we had the recent incidents with the spy balloon. So, I think political winds are changing,” Zenor said.
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, testified in front of Congress on Thursday with many TikTok users worried about the fate of the video app.