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Will TikTok be Banned in the US?

Lauren Sellman, Arts & Entertainment Editor

A hand holding up a phone with the TikTok app on it. Photo//NPR

On March 13, the United States Congress passed a bill aimed at removing the popular social media app TikTok from the Apple and Google app stores. The move comes from growing concerns that the app, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, may be releasing sensitive user data to Chinese government officials. 

The bill, introduced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, calls for TikTok to either break away from its parent company or to be banned in the United States. However, if ByteDance finds a new parent company to buy the app within the next six months, the ban will not take place. 

Several other countries, including Britain, Australia, Canada, France, and New Zealand, have already banned TikTok from being downloaded on official work devices. Additionally, at least 14 US states have banned the app on government devices. 

Despite these actions, there is currently no public proof that TikTok has been sharing user information with the Chinese government. Some experts argue that banning TikTok will not effectively address digital security concerns, as other countries already have access to a wealth of information on US internet users through various digital data sources. 

Platforms like TikTok and other social media can help spread misinformation. The Biden administration has been working closely with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to address these concerns. 

Although it is uncertain how the ban will look for individuals using the app on a personal device, some states such as Montana have suggested intent to fine those who download or use the app. 

While the future of TikTok in the United States remains uncertain, current users who already have the app downloaded will not be immediately affected. Although the bill has been passed by the House, TikTok is a long way away from being taken off of cell phones.

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