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The Lafayette Ledger

The Lafayette Ledger

The House Has Passed a Bill That Could Potentially Ban TikTok

The fate of the app, TikTok is now in the hands of the U.S. Government.

On Wednesday, March 13th, Congress passed a bill that could potentially lead to the banning of the popular social media app, TikTok in the U.S. Here’s what to know about their decision and how people across the country are reacting.

First of all, this major decision by the U.S. government was certainly not out of the blue. In fact, the app has caused several issues for the country in the past. Starting with when TikTok first became popular, the FBI took several attempts to warn the public about the national security risk it imposes. The app is owned and managed by the Chinese company, ByteDance. In 2020, an investigation run on the company proved that they are able to access and control users’ software, as well as keep personal data in their system through the app. During his presidency, Trump took concern over this and attempted to sell part of it to Microsoft to have a U.S. partner gain some control over the app. Microsoft declined his request. Due to the overwhelming pressure and negative feedback, they received, TikTok accepted the company, Oracle to be its “trusted” U.S. partner. After this, TikTok did not raise much concern until 2022 when they began to transfer their data completely over to Oracle’s software to protect their reputation. This was a 1.5-billion-dollar thoroughly planned project to ensure American citizens their information was safe. Although, ByteDance still had control over data. In 2023, Biden attempted to ban the app from all federal devices, but it did not work out. Now, ironically, his campaign is active on the app to draw in young voters.

Later in 2023, the CEO of TikTok defended himself and the company in a widely publicized trial against Congress. After that, Republican states beginning with Montana started to try and ban the app in their states. This was rejected by the federal government. Several college campuses across the country banned the app from their private internet services too. All the severe backlash and criticism towards TikTok at such a large level is what led to the final decision to form the bill passed by Congress on Wednesday.

TikTok CEO, Shou Chew in court. (People Magazine)

As we know, the legislation was passed 362-65. This is a major gap that shows how many members believe the app is harmful to the nation’s security. The bill will now be passed on to the Senate. Although it is not urgent enough to be acted upon immediately. The majority who voted for the bill believe China having access to our information is a political threat. Each member obviously holds different opinions, but that is the overall premise of most of them. The 50 Democrats and 15 Republicans that voted against it believe that it is an obstruction of our Constitutional right to freedom of speech. In their eyes, the government cannot dictate what media we are allowed view. They have never banned political newspapers or magazines tied to other countries. So, why take away the right of the citizens to have a platform to voice their opinions and entertain themselves? What is your opinion on the ban? A good idea or an obstruction of our rights?

Various citizens across the U.S. are responding to this bill furiously. Those who regularly use the app have been keeping up with the government’s actions and using their platforms to voice their opinions. If you disagree with the ban, they are various petitions to sign and numbers to call to stop it. Although, according to others, it may help them build their knowledge and attention span. It all depends on the person. This controversial topic has been taking over the media and the future can only predict the fate of the app.

Fans of TikTok protesting in D.C. (Vox)


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