24. March 2023

Will TikTok actually be banned?

Will TikTok actually be banned?

Will TikTok actually be banned? TikTok is a household name these days, whether you’re one of the estimated 1.8 billion global users or not. The app that specializes in entertaining with short videos has made a sensational development. Thus, since it was bought out and renamed (it was previously called musical.ly), the app has seen steady growth. More and more people were using the platform and consuming the content published there. The app has also become an indispensable part of social media marketing, especially when it comes to addressing younger target groups.

But now the threat of a ban on the app

Government institutions and data protection agencies in various countries have been critical of the app for quite some time. The big argument against the platform is its Chinese origin and the fact that it is run by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, based in the People’s Republic. The accusations range from simple data protection issues, in which the app is accused of collecting user data and reselling it in China, to accusations of being directly under the control of the Chinese government. A similar accusation is currently being discussed in the US Congress. Thus, TikTok is said to manipulate its users and target Chinese propaganda to young people.

Hearing before the US Congress

The head of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, had to face an interrogation and answer to the parliament in front of the congress in Washington on Thursday, April 23, 2023. There were repeated accusations that his platform was working with the Chinese Communist Party and that he was selling the user data of over 150 million American users to Chinese companies. Although Shou Zi Chew denied the accusations and repeatedly emphasized that he had not been commissioned by the Chinese government, his answers did not seem to satisfy the parliament. Furthermore, the platform was also accused of being constructed in such a way that young users are deliberately driven into a dependency. Thus, there is danger and significant harm to children, according to Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor.

Possible ban for the app

After the hearing, the U.S. Congress is now debating whether to ban the platform. Especially President Biden personally, is in favor of the ban. The discussion incorporates the concentrated tensions of the current relationship between the Chinese People’s Republic and the United States of America. Thus, the launched spy balloons and also the strained economic relations are aspects that lead some congressmen to believe that the Chinese platform TikTok should be banned to protect the American population.

Consequences for the world

Even though the outcome of the discussion is still unclear, other countries, especially in Europe, are already following suit and starting to question the app. In Germany, for example, the first discussions are beginning about how secure the data of German users really is and whether the app should be monitored more closely.

We can only speculate about the consequences for TikTok, its billions of users and the many different areas in which the platform is used, such as marketing, but if the app is indeed banned, there will be consequences.