Should China's TikTok be banned? ByteDance says it will cost US $25 bn, hit 7 mn businesses - Hindustan Times

Should China's TikTok be banned? ByteDance says it will cost US $25 bn, hit 7 mn businesses

Apr 20, 2024 01:57 PM IST

TikTok owner, ByteDance, which is a Chinese company, has slammed US move to try and ban the app saying it will hurt the US economy and businessmen there.

The US House of Representatives is getting set to vote on a bill that would require popular social media video platform TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, to split from its owner or face a ban across the US. The reason behind the ban threat is that TikTok poses national security concerns in the US. Many Democrats and Republicans are supporting this bill indicating its favour across the political spectrum in the US, which is a rarity. Many officials have expressed concerns about TikTok's popularity, alleging that it's influenced by China and serves as a propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok is set to be banned in the US. However, some like X-owner Elon Musk, have begged to differ with the move.(REUTERS)
TikTok is set to be banned in the US. However, some like X-owner Elon Musk, have begged to differ with the move.(REUTERS)

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What TikTok said

A ByteDance spokesperson hit out at the bill, saying it would hurt the US economy and free speech at the same time. About the loss to US economy, he said it would impact “… 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the US economy annually."

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Options before ByteDance

The proposed bill says ByteDance would need to sell TikTok within just a few months. Not complying with this order, if the bill is passed, would invite penalties which include being removed from Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the US.

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US president raises issue with Chinese president

How badly this view to ban TikTok has taken over the US establishment is clear from the fact that President Joe Biden reiterated his worries about TikTok during a recent phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Also, to make sure the move is passed, it has been made a part of the aid package to for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. This expected to ease its way in both chambers of the US Congress.

What Elon Musk said

X-owner Elon Musk has reacted to a possible TikTok ban in the US. Notably, TikTok dominates the social media scene with its short-form videos that had forced even a giant like Google-owned YouTube to scramble and offer the public a similar service. In effect, if TikTok, which is of Chinese origin, is banned, it will definitely be a big boost for other social media platforms in the US and that includes Elon Musk-owned X (formerly Twitter). So, now with the US set to vote slapping a ban on TickTok, Musk has said something that will shock and awe in equal measure.

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Musk said that he is opposed to the idea of imposing a ban on TikTok in the United States. And the reason? Simply because it goes against freedom of speech and expression that are enshrined in the US Constitution.

"In my opinion, TikTok should not be banned in the USA, even though such a ban may benefit the X platform," Musk’s post on X read. "Doing so would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression,” he added.

Musk shared his views on the matter on X, that banning TikTok should not be considered as it would set a big precedent going forward against freedom of speech. Not just that, such an action against TikTok may lead to similar steps being taken against other social media platforms and messaging services.

Analysts have also suggested that this move could grant the US president the power to label other apps as national security threats.

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