If you’re wondering what’s happening with Trump’s TikTok ban, you’re not the only one! The back-and-forth over what will happen to the ultra-popular app seems like it will never end. TikTok’s ban has been announced a few times, yet still hasn’t been carried out. ByteDance, TikTok’s current owner, is still desperately combating the President’s efforts to shut down TikTok’s US operations. The app is growing in popularity for both Gen Z and Millennials, so the elimination of TikTok would affect a huge aspect of those generations' culture. Here’s everything we know about the TikTok ban so far and what this could mean for our teens moving forward.
The battle so far
In December of 2019, TikTok was accused of transferring data to Chinese servers. Because of the tech war with China earlier that year and TikTok’s growing fame, countries started to worry about TikTok’s control over users’ private information. In July of this year, India banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese-run apps because of their apparent “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”
In August, Trump announced his first statement against TikTok and his concern that the app is being used to share Americans’ personal information with China. He issued an executive order for TikTok to discontinue their US app within 45 days, which was eventually extended to 90 days. All the while, Microsoft was trying to buy TikTok so that it would be US-based, which would eliminate the threat of foreign power over US information and allow the app to stay active. Nothing ever came of this potential deal, which opened up the playing field for other corporations to throw their hats in the ring and gain ownership of TikTok. Earlier this month, Oracle and Walmart put stakes in a new TikTok Global app, which would be US-owned in accordance with Trump’s orders. Still, nothing has been decided.
TikTok avoided another ban on September 20, and then again last Sunday. Sunday was supposed to be the cut-off date for any further US downloads of the app, and then starting November 12, the app would be completely unavailable. But TikTok requested and received an injunction from a federal judge against Trump’s case. ByteDance announced this statement in response to the judge’s decision:
We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement.
So what’s happening on November 12 now?
Since ByteDance avoided another ban deadline, Trump is still holding November 12 as the date to make TikTok completely unavailable in the US. But will this actually happen? ByteDance is working hard to keep their original app up and running. As of now, it’s unclear who has the upper hand at this point in the battle, and how things will play out in the following weeks.
You may be wondering, “So, what now?” If TikTok is banned, it’s likely that the app’s legacy will be carried on through platforms like YouTube (much like Vine did in 2017). But for now, we wait and enjoy TikTok while it’s still here. As Trump’s presidency continues, Chinese-based apps like WeChat are also facing potential US bans and are being considered threats to US cybersecurity.
Is TikTok safe?
These issues leave many of us wondering: Is TikTok safe to use? This question of cybersafety has been a source of major debate with many apps that we use on a daily basis (such as Facebook, Snapchat, etc.). But when Gen Z uses these apps, cybersecurity is often the last thing on their minds. For them, losing TikTok will hit especially hard for their established internet culture. TikTok is a place where Gen Z can express their likes and dislikes while having fun with others in a creative atmosphere. Yes, TikTok has its fair share of explicit content and problems, but for Gen Z, the app is mostly known for its humor and sense of community. To lose TikTok would be a major hit to their culture, outlets for emotional support, important sources of information, and so much more. Be sure to have ongoing conversations with your teen about cybersecurity and protecting themselves online, and come up with a good course of action together to answer the question of TikTok’s safety for yourselves.
- Do you use TikTok? Why or why not?
- What do you think about Trump’s decision to ban TikTok?
- Do you think TikTok Global will be just as popular as TikTok? Why or why not?
- If ByteDance loses their fight for both apps, what do you think you’ll replace your time with? Will you find another entertaining app or will you try something else?
- Are you worried about cybersecurity when you use certain apps? Why or why not?
What does your family think about the TikTok ban? Let us know in the comments!