In recent days, a bipartisan group of Senators and Congresspeople has proposed legislation to ban TikTok in the United States over concerns about the app's handling of user data and ties to China's government. As a result, TikTokers and others online have responded with shock to the news in droves.
Marco Rubio (R-FL), the author of the bill, is not the first politician to sour on the increasingly popular and dominant social media platform in recent years — particularly due to its controversial ties to China.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 14, 2022
In India, however, the app has technically been banned for two years. Many U.S. states have also banned TikTok on the devices of government employees over security concerns, most recently Alabama and Utah.
People didn't believe me when I said Tiktok ban is coming. Now it's official pic.twitter.com/eHQXLUaZ46
— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) December 14, 2022
Opponents of TikTok fear that its parent company ByteDance will feed data to the Chinese Communist Party, which is not a necessarily irrational fear since the Chinese government holds a lot of sway over Chinese companies and a social media platform like TikTok is undoubtedly valuable both for its capacity to influence people and gather data about populations.
TikTok would undoubtedly be a powerful weapon if it were put into combat or used for nefarious data collection.
It’s time to ban TikTok. Not only is it a Chinese communist enterprise, it’s grooming kids, teens, and even adults into absolute mush-for-brains morons.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) December 13, 2022
Several avid TikTokers pushed back against the government, analyzing the situation as a generational conflict between imperialist Boomers and hip young people. Some also said strikingly critical things about the American government as word of the ban spread online.
Additionally, some TikTokers made dire predictions about the consequences of a TikTok ban.
Others, however, seemed to support the ban, arguing that TikTok has a negative effect on society and is indeed an instrument of the Chinese government.
It remains to be seen whether the bill will pass into law. If it does, it wouldn't happen for a long time because the bill has to make it out of committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, then pass in that chamber, then pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate and finally be signed into law by President Joe Biden (who notably signed an executive order reversing Trump's attempted ban).
While the bill is bipartisan, many of the decision-makers in both parties are uncommitted or possibly pro-TikTok.