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Time Is Ticking Down For This Global Media Powerhouse
TikTok Is Under Massive Scrutiny For A Supposed Security Threat
April 21, 2023
At this point TikTok is a well-known video-sharing app that has been the core of an ongoing struggle between those who find it to be an invasive, untrustworthy, company and those who find it to be an enjoyable community space. The app is filled with the brim content creators, many of which see it as their full time job. With so much success during the past 7 years (the most downloaded app in the U.S as of 2018 and 834.3 million users worldwide as of 2023) it was smooth sailing on the web for TikTok, as of today, not so much. The struggle mentioned earlier has gone into full swing as of late, with congress in the process of passing the Restrict Act (The TikTok ban bill), which gives congress the power to restrict or outright ban the usage of technology and communication products originating from China. This could mean the continued safety and privacy of U.S citizens, but also the loss of jobs for millions of people in the U.S as well.
Strangely enough, this new bipartisan act pushed by congress does not even mention TikTok or even their parent company, ByteDance. This might be due to the scope of the bill to be more broad, to encompass more than just TikTok. Other forms of media sites such as Google or Instagram could also be susceptible to limits and bans from the Restrict Act. Questionable or not, the act is already in motion, with Montana recently becoming the first state to pass the controversial bill. Except there is not a definite plan to enforce the Restrict Act, since it is pretty much impossible to block the download of apps in a single state. Moreover, there are various ways to circumvent the ban using VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks). It is unknown if there will be consequences for using these though.
The TikTok spokesperson in the area went so far as to say that the new bill “Represents the censorship of Montana’s voices.” While this spokesperson may have a bias toward their company, others also agree that the new bill violates speech rights for U.S. citizens. Could this be a case of government overreach? Maybe. However, supporters of the TikTok ban look to laws in China which impel certain companies to comply with intelligence work conducted by the government. TikTok has also encouraged their own users to speak out against what they see as an injustice. Many small business owners have stepped up, created ads online, to support the company that they promote their products on. Whether TikTok is a security risk or not, it doesn’t seem to matter, congress’s mind is made up, and it seems time is up for this app.