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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Breaking Down Breaking News: Possible TikTok ban

Credit: Alyssa Ao

What you need to know:

On Wednesday, March 13, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would require TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell TikTok to a non-Chinese entity. The bill states that if ByteDance doesn’t sell TikTok, then TikTok will be banned on American phones. The bill passed with a 352-65 vote in the House and will now head to the Senate to be voted on. If the bill also passes in the Senate as well, it will be sent to President Joe Biden, who stated that he will sign the proposed ban if Congress passes it.

The bill that passed the House is called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.” Two days later, members of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House unanimously approved the bill, which refers to the TikTok app as a “threat to national security because it’s controlled by a foreign adversary.”

According to CBS News, TikTok has denied that it shares users’ information with the Chinese government. They also pointed to “Project Texas,” an initiative launched by TikTok in 2022 in an effort to safeguard American users’ data on Oracle cloud servers and ease the concerns of lawmakers. These lawmakers feared that Chinese authorities would force ByteDance to hand over data on the 170 million Americans who use the TikTok app.

Some critics of this bill claim that it violates the First Amendment rights of the 170 million American TikTok users, as it would remove a platform that some use for self-expression, communicating with others and obtaining information.

Why it matters:

Since 2020, there have been some bills that have attempted to ban TikTok due to privacy concerns and security risks. TikTok has been very critical of the bill. Chief executive of TikTok Shou Zi Chew warned that the bill would give “more power to a handful of other social media companies,” and would put thousands of Americans’ jobs at risk.

According to BBC News, the bill still has a long way to go before it officially becomes a law. However, if it passes the Senate and gets signed into effect by President Biden, ByteDance would have only six months to sell the app before the ban would take place.

In June of 2020, TikTok was banned in India. According to CNN, the government in New Delhi suddenly banned the app and several other well-known Chinese apps after a dispute on the India-China border in which four Chinese soldiers and 20 Indian soldiers died. The app was banned because the dispute between the two countries that month raised tensions to the highest level in decades. “It’s important to remember that when India banned TikTok and multiple Chinese apps, the U.S. was the first to praise the decision,” founder of tech website MediaNama Nikhil Pahwa said.

What are other sources to look at?

House passes a bill that could lead to a TikTok ban if Chinese owner refuses to sell” – AP News

Why the House voted to ban TikTok and what could come next” – NPR

House TikTok bill gives ByteDance 6 months to sell. That’s unlikely.” – The Washington Post

Biden’s support for potential TikTok ban risks backlash from young voters” – The Hill

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About the Contributors
Sophia Verma
Sophia Verma, Staff Reporter
Sophia Verma, Class of 2024, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She is part of the peer leadership program at the highschool. Outside of school she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading, going to concerts and watching movies. Contact: [email protected]
Alyssa Ao
Alyssa Ao, Co-Graphics Editor
Alyssa Ao, Class of 2025, is a co-graphics editor for WSPN. She is also one of the Math Team captains and co-president of the Art Club. Outside of school, she enjoys art, playing piano and watching TV. Contact: [email protected]
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