Tenacious TikTok Ban


Katrina Mulder, Reporter

The U.S. government is once again pushing to ban the app TikTok. It was nearly two and a half years ago when President Trump threatened to ban TikTok unless it was relieved of its Chinese owners. Now, President Biden’s administration has acted towards banning it once again. Federal officials have demanded the Chinese owners sell their stake of the platform or face the possibilities of the U.S. banning it.

Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, testified in a hearing before congress on March 23. During this meeting, representatives from the U.S. accused Chew of aiding in a Chinese plot to corrupt the nation’s youth. They also disrupted Chew many times, making him unable to finish his response to their questions. Not only that, Congress asked Chew some irrational questions. Representative Richard Hudson had asked Chew if it can access home wifi networks. Clearly this question was uneducated seeing as Tiktok must be connected to service in order to access the app, just like other popular social medias: Instagram and Facebook. Which raises the question of other social media platforms invading privacy. Chew defended himself by saying, at least TikTok isn’t as bad as Facebook. This highlighted that American companies are just as bad or even worse with securing data than TikTok.

The main reason for this hearing was to question Chew about his relationship with the Chinese owner, ByteDance, and how TikTok handles sensitive data of its U.S. users. To answer this, Chew stated, “Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country”. This answer contradicted the knowledge that many members of the ByteDance have ties to the Chinese communist party. Though, just because members have relations with China doesn’t mean the company itself has associations with them. TikTok is the most popular platform in the U.S., used by over 150 million U.S. citizens daily. Many companies even advertise their product through this app. Additionally, there have been arguments against banning TikTok because it breaches the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

In addition to this potential ban, Idaho Legislature passed and Governor Little signed House Bill 247. This bans the availability of accessing TikTok on state-issued/ political subdivision-owned devices and networks. The concerns that the Government brought to light concerning the threat of data collection and privacy policies. Regarding this new law, the Boise School District is implementing this ban through their networks and devices. This new ban does not restrict students from using personal devices or networks in school.