What’s happening: The Biden administration told TikTok’s Chinese owners to sell their stake in the app or face a federal ban, though the CEO states that selling the app will not resolve security concerns. This marks a dramatic escalation of the federal government’s efforts to ban the app, following Congress’s bipartisan bill that would give President Joe Biden the powers necessary to do so.
Security concerns: TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, have been the subject of increased security concerns in recent years over the amount of data the app collects from American users, data that’s accessible to the Chinese Communist Party under Chinese law. These issues have led Canada, Taiwan, and the European Union to ban the app in the public sector, with the U.K. coming around it. The U.S. has also banned it on certain government devices.
Poison algorithm for children: Twenty-five percent of the 65 million Americans using TikTok are between the ages of 10 and 19. In America, TikTok’s Chinese-controlled algorithm promotes sexual content, drugs, and alcohol to children. In China, TikTok usage for children is limited to only 40 minutes per day and shows children science experiments, educational videos, and patriotic content.
Between the lines: A TikTok ban would not only curb Chinese influence at home, but it would also significantly help the app’s biggest competitors, like Meta, who have been struggling to compete with TikTok’s success. Meta has extensively lobbied to expedite the ban, and Meta and Snapchat shares are already surging.