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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

What to know on possible ban of TikTok

A new legislation was passed that will potentially ban TikTok, the fate of the app is unknown for now, but even so, has garnered nationwide attention.

Congress voted on March 13th, in favor of a bill that could potentially ban TikTok in the United States. This bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, claims that the Chinese government can use its intelligence to force ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company of TikTok, to hand over data of TikTok users in the US. The bill is not without its opponents, as many, including TikTok itself, claim that this bill infringes on the freedom of expression of users, a constitutional right under the First Amendment. 

TikTok has six months to sell the app or will face losing access to app stores and web-hosting services in the United States. The company has argued against this ban, stating on its social media page on X, previously Twitter, that they’re not “owned or controlled by the Chinese government.” As the app is host to 5 million small businesses, there is worry about the future for those who make their livelihood on the app.

Local students are opposed to the bill as well, an occurring sentiment being that they believe the bill will do more harm than good. Lesley Garcia, a student at Contra Costa College, stated “I think it might be closing the door on the freedom of speech.” And added, “Why are they focusing on this instead of literally anything else?” For another student, J.J. Cole, it seems like there’s also concern over income through the app, “I think it’s stupid to get rid of an app that people use for a source of income.” 

According to CNBC news, the app itself has spent millions on ads pushing for support, one of them showcasing TikTok users in front of the US capitol and White House, expressing their love for TikTok, and their beliefs on the possible ramifications that this bill will have on users and small businesses that use the app to support themselves. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly 7 million US businesses and 170 million users on the app. 

Many have rallied in support of the app, some calling their representatives to protest against the bill. One senator got more than he bargained for, as North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis received aggressive voicemails, inciting violence. One voicemail went so far as to threaten to shoot him, and another threatened to kill him and then themselves, according to The Hill. Tillis reported this phone call to the police. 

This bill has even gotten national attention, as President Biden has recently joined TikTok last month, according to his profile on X, previously Twitter, despite security questions, as well as stating earlier that he would sign the bill if it got to him. Biden has also signed legislation banning TikTok from federal government devices. Vice President Kamala Harris also stated “We do not intend to ban TikTok”, and went on to say that the app has “very important” benefits in an interview with ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott on “This Week.”

The decision currently rests with the Senate, as Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has raised some concerns about the bill, and plans on holding a hearing before taking action.

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About the Contributor
Ariel Schell, Advocate Staff

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