The United States House votes on a bill aimed at banning TikTok in the country. – MPI

The United States House votes on a bill aimed at banning TikTok in the country.

This move represents a significant challenge for the platform, especially considering its user base in the United States, estimated at about 170 million people. The proposal arises amid concerns about the alleged links of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, with the Chinese Communist Party.


ByteDance is a Chinese technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. The company has grown rapidly since its inception and has become one of the most valuable startups in the world. Its innovative approach to content recommendation, using advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, was key to the success of its applications. In addition, ByteDance has been expanding globally, establishing offices in various countries to better meet the needs and preferences of its international users.

However, ByteDance faces significant challenges, especially regarding data privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

The bill in question would require TikTok to be removed from app stores in the United States unless the platform is separated from ByteDance, a company based in China. This measure represents a significant step towards reducing Chinese influence in key sectors of the American economy and society.

Lawmakers advocating for the bill argue that TikTok poses a national security threat due to the possibility of the Chinese government using its intelligence laws to access and use the data of application users in the United States, through ByteDance.

This bill is being voted on in an expedited process, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval, which suggests it will likely pass with broad bipartisan support. However, the fate of the legislation in the Senate is still unclear.

TikTok positions itself against the bill, claiming it is a violation of its users’ constitutional right to free speech. The platform launched an in-app campaign, encouraging users to contact their representatives in Washington to oppose the bill. As a result, several congressional offices reported a large volume of phone calls.

The proposal would give ByteDance approximately five months to sell TikTok. If this does not happen within the established deadline, it would become illegal for app store operators, such as Apple and Google, to make the app available for download.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the measure was unanimously passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and President Joe Biden declared he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.

The vote may leave some Republicans in an uncomfortable position, as Trump recently dismissed the possibility of a ban. Despite this, the House Republican Party proceeded with the vote, regardless of Trump’s stance.

During his tenure, Trump supported calls to ban the app but appears to have backed away from this position, although his rhetoric has been ambiguous.

Last week, in a Truth Social post, Trump expressed his opposition to a TikTok ban, arguing that if the app were taken down, Facebook would benefit. He launched criticisms at Facebook and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, labeling the social network as an “enemy of the people.”

During a CNBC interview on Monday (11), Trump stated that it was a tough decision to determine whether the United States should ban TikTok. He argued that eliminating the platform would be advantageous for Facebook, which, according to him, has been harmful to the country.

While Trump recognizes TikTok as a potential national security threat to the United States, he also pointed out that there are similar issues with Facebook and other companies. He acknowledged that many people enjoy TikTok, highlighting that there are both positive and negative aspects associated with the platform.

Lawmakers from both parties who support the bill argued that it is not a direct ban on TikTok.

Recently, Wisconsin Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, who chairs a House committee on China, dismissed descriptions of the bill as a TikTok ban. He stated: “This is not a ban. It puts the choice directly in TikTok’s hands to cut its ties with the Chinese Communist Party. As long as ByteDance no longer owns the company, TikTok can continue to exist… The basic ownership structure needs to change.”

TikTok refuted lawmakers’ claims that the legislation would offer options for the app. The company stated in an X post: “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban on TikTok in the United States. The government is trying to deprive 170 million Americans of their constitutional right to free speech. This will harm millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

TikTok CEO Shou Chew sought to schedule last-minute meetings with members of Congress. The company also sent letters to several House lawmakers on Monday (11), accusing them of distorting TikTok’s campaign and stating it is “offensive” for lawmakers to dismiss the views of voters who flooded congressional offices with phone calls.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not commit to holding a vote on the House’s TikTok bill, highlighting uncertainty about the next steps should the House approve the project as expected.

“We will wait to see what the House decides,” he said. “I will have to consult and intend to consult the chairs of my relevant committees to know what their opinion would be on the matter.”

The app:

TikTok experienced explosive growth in the United States since entering the market. Launched globally in 2018, it quickly became one of the most popular social media applications worldwide, especially among young people.

One of the main reasons for TikTok’s success in the United States was its unique approach to short video sharing. The platform offers a wide variety of editing tools and special effects that allow users to create creative and engaging content quickly and easily. This attracted a community of talented creators and an audience eager for fun and authentic content.

Additionally, TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, which customizes each user’s feed based on their preferences and browsing behaviors, was key to driving the platform’s growth. This ensured that users were exposed to a wide variety of relevant content, keeping them engaged and regularly returning to the platform.

TikTok also invested in strategic partnerships with celebrities, brands, and media companies to promote the app and expand its user base in the United States. These collaborations helped increase awareness about TikTok and attract new audiences to the platform.

As a result of all these strategies, TikTok secured a significant user base in the United States, with over 100 million monthly active users in 2021, becoming one of the most downloaded apps on the App Store and Google Play Store in the United States. TikTok’s continued growth in the United States suggests that the platform will remain a dominant force in the social media landscape for many years.

Danielle Berry
Danielle Berry

an editor at MPI since 2023.


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