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What will be the future of TikTok?

A new bill could mean a ban on TikTok throughout the U.S. if a buyer for the app is not found within a few months.

Source: 9to5mac


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


March 20, 2024


By Mariana Prieto

Editor: Fabiha Khanam


New York–A new bill could prevent Americans from downloading the popular app TikTok. This bill has yet to be passed by the Senate, but if it is passed, app stores in the U.S. will be required to  stop offering TikTok. 


The TikTok bill disproportionately affects teenagers, who are the most frequent users of the app. Benjamin N. Cardozo High School sophomore  Zoey Huey said she thinks the bill is unnecessary. Her sentiments were echoed  by sophomore Yashika Bhatia, who declared that the bill is “stupid”. Sophomore Jenny To stated that “if they’re going to ban TikTok, they might as well ban Instagram since they’re basically the same thing. It’s all just because [the U.S. Government is] anti-China.” 


Attempts at restricting TikTok are not new; former President Donald Trump attempted to pass a similar piece of legislation while in office. Trump tried to force TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, to sell TikTok during his term but was ultimately unsuccessful. ByteDance is a company founded and based in Beijing, China. This new TikTok bill stems from the same claim that the data of TikTok users is at risk, with supporters of the bill claiming that China’s government could use its intelligence laws to its advantage via  ByteDance. 


However, this bill violates the U.S. Constitution, which protects against bills of attainder. According to The New York Times, “because the bill’s text explicitly names TikTok and ByteDance, some are worried it could violate a part of the Constitution that bars Congress from targeting specific entities with legislation.” During its eight years in existence, TikTok has become a melting pot for diverse  opinions and platforms to be shared. TikTok has been used by everyone from small business owners looking to grow their companies to XYZ, connecting people from around the world to share experiences and stories. Lawmakers in support of the bill claims its restrictions aim to prevent foreign ownership, but this is unlikely to be held in court since access to foreign propaganda is a constitutional right. As stated by the executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Jameel Jaffer, “If you give the government the power to restrict Americans’ access to propaganda, then you’ve given the government the power to restrict Americans’ access to anything the government deems to be propaganda.” 


Senator Maria Cantwell, who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportations, has stated that she will be talking with colleagues to find a solution for the TikTok bill that is not unconstitutional. 


This bill was passed by the House and if passed by the Senate, would go to President Biden, who has already stated he would sign it if given the opportunity to do so. The passing of the TikTok bill would mean that ByteDance has six months to find a buyer for the app, or app stores in America will be prohibited from carrying TikTok. This has also left many wondering what will become of TikTok if it has been downloaded to the user's phone before the passing of the bill, speculating that  the app would likely deteriorate until it no longer functions. 


If the TikTok bill does become a law, it will likely be taken to court, either by TikTok or another party.  


Director of the Media Relations Team, Fabiha Khanam, expresses, “The potential ban of TikTok is a direct violation of the right to freedom of speech and press. TikTok is one of the few platforms that the U.S. government does not have control over which is why they seek to limit its access and power. Banning TikTok in the U.S. means that citizens are one step closer to losing our rights. TPF does stand against this ban”. 


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