No more TikTok? On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced a bill that would allow President Joe Biden to ban TikTok nationwide. The Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries (DATA) Act would roll back existing privacy protections and allow the president to prevent Americans from downloading the app onto a device or accessing its content. The bill passed 24 to 16 in the Republican-controlled committee, receiving unanimous GOP backing and zero Democratic support.
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. Experts have also raised questions over Tiktok’s effects on youth mental health, particularly the algorithm’s feeding of eating disorder- and suicide-related content.
Ramifications: TikTok surpassed 1 billion monthly users in 2021, including 100 million in America. Banning TikTok would be the most extreme restriction on a social media platform in American history, a step with massive ramificationsfor the app’s biggest competitors like Meta and Google. The DATA Act is just part of the current GOP push to limit Chinese influence in American industries.