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United States TikTok Ban refers to the possible ban of the Chinese app TikTok in the United States over security concerns. In Early July, State Secretary Mike Pompeo suggested that the Trump administration is "looking at" banning the app which caused a stir on Twitter, TikTok and Reddit with many posting memes regarding their negative or positive feelings about the news.
On July 6th, 2020, following a television news interview with State Secretary Mike Pompeo, Twitter user @Breaking911 tweeted, "BREAKING: Trump Administration Considers Banning TikTok, Other Chinese Social Media Apps – Pompeo" which received over 80,400 likes and 23,100 retweets in four days.
On July 7th, FoxNews uploaded a YouTube video referencing Pompeo's interview titled, "TikTok says user data isn't sent to China despite concerns from Pompeo" (shown below). The video garnered over 38,700 views and 1,200 likes in three days.
On July 7th, 2020, following the news of the possible ban Twitter user @thsedays tweeted, "no because if tik tok actually gets banned wtf am i gonna do with all my free time" (shown below, left). The tweet accumulated over 15,800 likes and 2,600 retweets in three days. That same day, many Redditors commented on the news with memes celebrating the possible ban. Redditor JustSomeGuy_Idk posted a meme to r/dankmemes suggesting it's the best news 2020 has had (shown below, right). The post acquired over 5,600 points (95% upvoted) in three days.
On July 8th, 2020, Mike Pompeo clarified his remarks by saying that the United States government is working on taking action to protect information (shown below). The video uploaded to YouTube by CNBC garnered over 51,800 views in two days.
On July 8th, 2020, TikTokers started the hashtag #SaveTikTok and created videos about attempting to convince the government to not ban the app or uploading videos that take a look back at the history of TikTok. That day, TikToker kenuhchez uploaded a video in which he reviewed all the characters he made on the app and used the hashtag #savetiktok (shown below, left). The video garnered over 138,600 likes in two days. That day benhouselog uploaded a video about banning together to save TikTok and received over 492,200 likes in two days. The next day, TikToker pixtheartist used the hashtag to make a video about the history of TikTok and accumulated over 115,200 likes in a day (shown below, right). StayHipp published an article on the #SaveTikTok trend.
Amazon Employee TikTok Ban
On July 10th, 2020, Twitter user and journalist @TaylorLorenz posted a screenshot of an email captioned, "Here's the email Amazon sent to employees this morning banning TikTok from employee phones. 'If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email.'" (shown below).
On July 31st, 2020, Twitter user and reporter @JoshNBCNews tweeted, "BREAKING: Trump tells reporters aboard Air Force One he is banning TikTok" which received over 28,200 likes and 10,000 retweets in three days (shown below).
On August 1st, the footage of Trump's statement was released (shown below). While addressing reporters he states, "We are looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok. We may be doing other things."
On July 31st, 2020, after the spread of Trump's statement, many Twitter users jokingly blamed comedian Sarah Cooper for putting TikTok in danger with her Trump lipsync videos. On July 31st, @sarahcpr uploaded a video lipsyncing Trump's statement on banning TikTok (shown below). The video garnered over 5.3 million views and 246,700 likes in three days.
How to tick tack pic.twitter.com/1Mn8nk363f— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) July 31, 2020
That day, Twitter user @NotHoodlum tweeted, "JUST IN: Trump wants to ban Tic Toc because of Sarah Cooper’s videos" (shown below, left). The tweet received over 11,500 likes in three days. The net day, Twitter user @StuartEmmrich shared a Vogue article and said, "Donald Trump says he wants to ban TikTok because of national security concerns. But is the real reason that he wants to silence sarahcpr, who has become an Internet sensation with her mocking videos of his speeches?" (shown below, right). The tweet accumulated over 7,200 likes and 2,200 retweets in two days. The Daily Dot published an article on the speculations.
On August 1st, 2020, TikTok's U.S. General Manager Vaness Pappas posted a TikTok video saying that the app was not going anywhere and that she appreciates the support (shown below). The video gained over 5.7 million likes in two days.
That day, news of possible of a possible TikTok purchase by Microsoft trended on Twitter. The next day, Microsoft published a blog post titled "Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States" (shown below). The next day, Reuters announced in an article that Trump will give the company 45 days to seal the deal on the purchase.
Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States. Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury. Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.
August 6th Executive Orders
On August 6th, the United States President Donald Trump signed two executive orders "addressing the threat posed by WeChat and TikTok." The two orders forbid "any transactions" between the United States citizens and ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, and WeChat, with both orders coming into effect in 45 days (on September 20th, 2020).
2022 Marco Rubio Ban Bill
On December 14th, 2022, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives proposed a bill to ban social media companies with strong ties to China and Russia. This category would include TikTok. Rubio justified the bill by arguing that TikTok was an instrument of the Chinese government, which could access all data collected on US citizens and potentially use it to manipulate American society.
Many doubted whether the bill would become a law, given President Joe Biden's decision to reverse the Trump August 6th executive orders. Nevertheless, discussions around the platform, its management of data, and its role were top headlines.
2023 Government Device Ban / Bill H.R. 1153
On December 30th, 2022, it was reported that Biden signed a bill into law prohibiting TikTok on federal government devices. On February 27th, 2023, it was reported that the White House gave government agencies 30 days to remove the app from their devices. It was also reported that Bill H.R. 1153 would go before the House that Tuesday, February 28th, which would allow Biden to ban the app across the U.S.
TikTok CEO Testifies Before Congress
In March 2023, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress. On March 21st, 2023, he uploaded a video to the official TikTok account asking TikTokers about what he should say to Congress in regard to why they enjoy using the app. The video gathered over 9 million plays and 900,000 likes in two days (seen below).
Our CEO, Shou Chew, shares a special message on behalf of the entire TikTok team to thank our community of 150 million Americans ahead of his congressional hearing later this week.
On March 23rd, 2023, Twitter user @penbbles posted a clip from the hearing where Representative Bilirakis shows a viral TikTok video where someone says, "Player tip, you gotta kill yourself," as well as various other TikTok videos that discuss suicide. The tweet gathered over 200 likes in less than a day (seen below).
BRO NO FUCKING WAY THEY USED THE PLAYER TIP VIDEO 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/0tLYqaTudM
— psychoceramic autistic fellow (@penbbles) March 23, 2023
Also on March 23rd, Twitter account @RNCResearch posted a clip of Congressman Carter asking the CEO of TikTok if he "knows how many people have died" because of the app. The post gathered over 100 likes in less than a day (seen below).
TikTok CEO Shou Chew can't say how many children have died because of dangerous "challenges" on TikTok. pic.twitter.com/oZurG7yQNA
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 23, 2023
 White House – Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok
 White House – Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by WeChat