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The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

Segerstrom News

Segerstrom News

Segerstrom News

The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

The Ticking Clock for TikTok

With the recent passage of PAFDA, TikTok has to decide either to sell their app or risk being banned across the country. (Image courtesy of Solen Feyissa, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The state of TikTok currently hangs in the balance of US lawmakers. With a recently passed law, TikTok may be banned in the coming months. Government officials are pushing the fight to remove TikTok entirely; meanwhile, members of TikTok are trying to contest this law. 

TikTok is an app that is mainly used for creating and sharing short videos, typically these videos can range from funny skits to educational content. About 170 million Americans use this app daily. On March 5th, 2023, the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the “Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act” (PAFDA). PAFDA was proposed as part of a series of foreign aid bills and American privacy acts. It was sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) because TikTok is a risk to national security. 

 “I take the concerns raised by the intelligence community this morning very seriously,” Pallone said. “They have asked Congress to give them more authority to act in these narrowly defined situations, and I believe that this bill will do that.” 

PAFDA grants the Federal Trade Commission to prevent data brokers from providing “personally identifiable sensitive data” of US citizens to any foreign country or entity foreign adversary controls. It took less than two months for the House and the Senate to pass this bill. After being approved by Congress, it would require approval by the President. President Biden previously stated his support for the bill, so he swiftly signed PAFDA into law. Although PAFDA does not target specific companies, TikTok has been speculated to inspire this bill.  As a result of TikTok being owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, the app is now under fire.  Congress has given ByteDance a year to either sell TikTok to an American company or risk being banned across the United States. PAFDA has been scrutinized by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union for violating 1st Amendment rights but the bill’s greatest criticism is from TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew. 

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Shou Zi Chew has testified several times in Congress against alleged ties with the People’s Republic of China. He has been actively fighting to keep TikTok in the US by any means. In 2023, Montana was the first to try and ban TikTok across the state. But federal judges struck down the law for its unconstitutionality. Now, Chew is continuing his fight against PAFDA and plans to stay in the US. He argues that TikTok helps people connect through the platform and does not threaten American privacy. 

“Make no mistake. This is a ban: a ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice. Politicians may say otherwise but don’t get confused.” Chew responded on a TikTok video. “Many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is the ultimate goal.”

The fate of TikTok is undecided with both sides having strong arguments; while TikTok could be a potential threat to national security, PAFDA could be contested in federal court. Additionally, there is growing support to keep TikTok for its impact on their lives. While TikTok is currently in a position of uncertainty, it remains to be seen whether or not the app will stay in the US next year. 

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