TikTok controversy circling the globe, United States taking action


Photo by Evelyn Hockstein

While congress views TikTok as a threat to U.S. security, small business owners and online creators see this ban as a threat. TikTok creator funds helps support influencers, and businesses gain profit when their accounts are successful.

While concerns about the social media platform TikTok’s connections to China have been a topic of debate in the United States for many years now, actions are officially being made to ban the app. On March 1, 2023, TikTok was officially banned on United States government devices. President Joe Biden gave government staff 30 days to delete the app on federal devices. Cybersecurity concerns, U.S. relationships with the Chinese government, and minor security are the main reasons for the ban.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress on March 23, 2023. According to a variety of United States news sources, Chew was “grilled” by Congress as he testified, trying to defend the app.

“I think a lot of risks that are pointed out are hypothetical and theoretical risks,” Chew said when questioned in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “I have not seen any evidence.”

Canada has also been issuing orders to ban TikTok, specifically on government devices, as they view the app as addicting and lacking in cyber and minor security.

Other countries have also viewed TikTok as a threat. Taiwan called for a public sector ban in December, 2022 after viewing TikTok as a security risk. The Taliban has also banned TikTok in Afghanistan. Pakistan has banned TikTok temporarily on several occasions, viewing the app as immoral.

“TikTok has been an app used by many Americans, including myself, for the past couple years.” East Junior Hailey Bayne said. “Why are we just now taking action if it is really that big of a threat?”

Small business owners and online influencers not only find the ban confusing, they see it as a threat to their income. Opportunities like the creator fund and For You page allow small businesses and influencers to gain attraction, and as a result make money from videos. TikTok currently has 1 billion active monthly users, 150 million in the United States, so the ban would negatively affect many users.

Both the FBI and Federal Communications Commision have shared opinions that the app could share user data with the Chinese government. Currently, there is no specific evidence that this is happening.

Restrictions have been pushed since 2020 in the U.S. as president Donald Trump worked towards forcing ByteDance to sell off U.S. assets and ban TikTok. Whether Congress will execute their beliefs on the dangers of TikTok in 2023 is yet to be officially determined.