Social networks. Will TikTok be completely banned in the US?

TikTok’s future seems particularly uncertain in the US. US President Joe Biden last week signed a law banning the popular video-sharing platform from government employees’ devices. The text also bans social media use in the House and Senate. Increased weight in the House-majority Republican Congress risks making things more difficult for the platform.

Elected conservatives have accused TikTok, which is indeed owned by Chinese giant ByteDance, of being a tool of espionage or propaganda in the service of Beijing. TikTok is the equivalent of “digital fentanyl,” said Republican congressman Mike Gallagher, one of the leading anti-China voices in Congress, comparing the app to the drug that causes overdose deaths in the United States. “It’s highly addictive and destructive, and we’re seeing alarming data about the devastating effects of constant social media use, especially on young American men and women,” he told NBC News. “We have to ask ourselves, do we want the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to control what is on the verge of becoming the most powerful media group in the United States? A TikTok spokesperson, quoted in American media, officially denied these accusations, assuring that CCP “has no direct or indirect control over ByteDance or TikTok.”

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Damaged relationships

US federal law follows dozens of similar prohibitions at the state or local level. TikTok USA may have to break away from ByteDance to have a chance to continue authorization on all American smartphones. This was already a wish expressed by former President Donald Trump, who ordered the sale of TikTok’s US operations to American groups Oracle and Walmart. His successor, Joe Biden, took a less hard line after taking office.

But relations with TikTok soured significantly last month when ByteDance had to admit that employees had improperly accessed user data to track down journalists to identify the source of media leaks. TikTok has been criticized in the US and abroad. Emmanuel Macron specifically accused the Chinese social network of censoring content and encouraging online addiction among young people.

Try to agree

For months, TikTok has been trying to find a long-term partnership with the US government through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Sources familiar with the matter revealed that TikTok and the Biden administration are close to reaching an agreement that would provide strict protections for US user data. “The solution CFIUS envisions is a comprehensive set of measures with multiple levels of government and independent oversight … It goes far beyond what any similar company is seeing today,” said gatekeeper Brooke Oberwetter. -TikTok word.

But talks stalled, particularly as FBI Director Christopher Wray said he continues to view TikTok as a threat to US national security. Wray warned last month that Beijing has the ability to control the app’s algorithm, leaving American users vulnerable to a government that “does not share our values ​​and has a mission that is completely contrary to the best interests of the United States.” For its part, TikTok strongly denies that the Chinese government has any such influence.

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