How Experts Explain the Difficulty of Banning TikTok in the United States


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There is growing pressure on the Biden administration to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned social media app. However, experts say any such move would depend on the passage of a new law that strengthens the government’s ability to regulate speech. Lawmakers and national security hawks are calling for a ban over concerns that the app could censor content, influence users, and pass Americans’ personal data to Beijing, which the company denies.

Previous attempts to ban TikTok were blocked by courts on the grounds that it violated free speech protections. As a result, any move to block the app would likely depend on the passage of legislation like the RESTRICT ACT, a bipartisan bill that grants the Commerce Department new power to ban foreign technology that poses a national security risk. This new legislation would circumvent speech protections embedded in existing law.

TikTok has criticized the RESTRICT ACT, saying that the Biden administration can approve the deal negotiated with them over the last two years. TikTok’s chief executive officer, Shou Zi Chew, is set to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and face tough questions from lawmakers who want to ban the app.

TikTok has been in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for years, with concerns that it could be used to “control software on millions of devices.” However, previous attempts to ban the app have faced legal challenges. The RESTRICT ACT would provide new legal authority to ban the app, but it could still invite First Amendment challenges.

Experts say it is unlikely that the RESTRICT ACT would be used to ban TikTok until at least 2024, and there would most likely be a legal challenge if it is used to ban the app. While the legislation enjoys bipartisan support, no companion bill has yet been introduced in the House, and it is not yet clear when Congress might take it up. Some think it might be attached to a year-end defense measure.

AbdulRahman Sulehria
AbdulRahman Sulehria
Abdulrahman Sulehria (AR Sulehri) is a writer with a passion for technology, sharing his insights with others. His expertise in digital marketing also helps him to create content that is optimized for maximum engagement and reach.


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