Bill signed by Joe Biden mandating the Chinese owner to sell the app’s US operations

Teenagers’ preferred single source of news these days is TikTok.

What’s going on?

The Chinese government may be able to obtain data from TikTok’s 170 million US users in violation of national security rules, which worries US politicians and officials.

The director of the FBI, the US domestic intelligence and security agency, Christopher Wray, claimed that ByteDance is “controlled by the Chinese government” and issued a warning, stating that Beijing authorities can manipulate the algorithm that determines what users see on TikTok and that they can obtain user data for “traditional espionage operations.”

The Chinese government may be able to obtain data from TikTok’s 170 million US users in violation of national security rules, which worries US politicians and officials.

The director of the FBI, the US domestic intelligence and security agency, Christopher Wray, claimed that ByteDance is “controlled by the Chinese government” and issued a warning, stating that Beijing authorities can manipulate the algorithm that determines what users see on TikTok and that they can obtain user data for “traditional espionage operations.”

So … What does this mean?

If TikTok was removed from storefronts, updates would no longer be released, which would make the programme harder to use as operating systems changed and ultimately make it outdated.

Following briefings by security officials, which raised concerns that Beijing may compel ByteDance to give up the personal information of the 170 million Americans using the app, the bill quickly gained steam.

Countries where, as of April 2024, TikTok is either inaccessible (grey), partially banned (red), or banned (black) Source: The Independent

What else?

The nationwide restrictions centre on concerns about national security or state censorship.

Some US lawmakers worry that ByteDance, the main firm of TikTok, may give Chinese authorities access to user data, while others argue the app’s algorithm might be used to disseminate false information and propaganda.

A prohibition in the US would “trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans,” according to a statement from TikTok.

Only the shopping app Temu surpassed TikTok as the most downloaded app in the US last year, according to data from analytics company Appfigures.

Some Statistics

Younger generations are mostly responsible for TikTok’s popularity; according to Statista, over 70% of its users are under 35. Less than 7% of people are older over 55. In the US Congress, a representative’s average age is 58, and a senator’s average age is 64 in 2024.

According to a Pew Research Centre report, younger users have a higher level of faith in the app than older ones. Specifically, over 30% of US TikTok users between the ages of 18 and 29 use the app as their primary source of news, while only 3% of users over 65 do the same.

By Fatima