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TiKTok Bans: What’s next for the Addicting App?

TiKTok+Bans%3A+Whats+next+for+the+Addicting+App%3F

TikTok made its first appearance in August of 2018, when the former app Musical.ly was bought over. Musical.ly was founded by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang, two Chinese entrepreneurs. In 2017, ByteDance Ltd. bought over the rights to Musical.ly and turned it into TikTok by 2018. Similar to Musical.ly, TikTok is a social media platform dedicated to producing short videos to be created and consumed by users.

TikTok quickly became one of the most popular platforms in the United States. The app’s audience is mostly for teens, but many influencers on the app are much older. There are over 100,000 TikTok influencers in the United States; the app has now become a main source of income for some. However, as the app’s popularity continues to grow, the FBI has become worried about the effects. They said that TikTok could pose potential national security risks, warning that the Chinese government could have relations with the company ByteDance. They feared that the company could control the software on devices all over the United States and/or influence the users.

In 2020 President Donald Trump put out an executive order, claiming it was for national security that was breached by the app. The software company, Oracle, made its own bid to become TikToks tech partner in the U.S. TikTok then agreed to put U.S. data through Oracle. This partnership was part of “Project Texas” where Oracle would become partners with TikTok to monitor and secure U.S. users information. More recently in 2023, the Biden Administration decided to regulate TikTok and ban the platform from all federal devices. But later, Biden used the platform to campaign to the younger generations.

In March 2023, TikTok went to court over the allegations. TikTok CEO, Shou Chew, testified in front of Congress as the rumors of their ties with the Chinese government overflow, potentially risking national security. He advocated for the company, defending it against the lawyers who wanted TikTok banned. Later, Montana would become the first state to impose a total ban on TikTok (although this ban has been halted and remains in courts).

Now in 2024, A House committee voted unanimously to advance bipartisan legislation that would force ByteDance to divest its TikTok app ownership within 165 days. President Biden has promised to sign it if it passes the Senate. If this bill passes, it would be the first time that a chamber of Congress has passed a bill that could shut down a social media platform. Following that, companies like Apple and Google will remove the app from its stores. Internet services would make TikTok inaccessible on browsers.

The debate over whether TikTok should be accessible in the United States has been going on for 4 years. Could 2024 be the year when it’s finally banned?

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About the Contributor
Olivia Yagnisis
Olivia Yagnisis, Vice President
Meet Olivia Yagnisis. This is her first year back writing for The Gull since 7th grade. In her senior year she will hold the position of Vice President of The Gull. Olivia has had a love for writing since the 9th grade and enjoys having the option to write freely with The Gull. Her main passions include: the flute, music, making jewelry, and writing. She doesn’t have any specific themes she plans on writing this year, but stay tuned for her future pieces.

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