How TikTok ban will impact Americans - Hindustan Times
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How TikTok ban will impact Americans

Apr 25, 2024 11:23 AM IST

On Wednesday, Joe Biden has signed the bill to ban TikTok in US unless it is sold.

More than 170 million Americans use TikTok, and for many of them, it's their source of bread and butter. But with the new law, it's a matter of time before the short-video platform will be banned from the US.

A measure set to force TikTok's parent company to sell the video-sharing platform or face a ban in the U.S. received President Joe Biden's official sign-off on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)(AP)
A measure set to force TikTok's parent company to sell the video-sharing platform or face a ban in the U.S. received President Joe Biden's official sign-off on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)(AP)

After years of attempts to ban the Chinese-owned app, including efforts by former President Donald Trump, the TikTok ban bill has finally won congressional approval, and President Joe Biden is all done with his signature.

The new law comples Beijing-based parent company ByteDance to sell the company within nine months to any US company, with a possible three-month extension if a sale is in progress or faces a national ban.

When does the ban go into effect?

The original proposal mandated ByteDance to divest from its US subsidiary within six months, but negotiations extended this period to nine months. If a sale is already underway, the company will have an additional three months to complete it.

However, with likely court challenges, the timeline for the ban could stretch even longer, potentially years.

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What if one has already downloaded TikTok?

While TikTok likely won't vanish from existing users' phones immediately, it will be removed from Apple and Google's app stores. This means users won't be able to download updates, security patches, and bug fixes; over time, the app will be unusable.

Many tech geeks, known for bypassing restrictions on social media, may attempt to circumvent the ban using methods like VPNs, alternative app stores, or foreign SIM cards.

However, this is highly unlikely, and many users may migrate to other platforms like Instagram Reels or YouTube, where similar content is available.

Dean Ball from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University highlights, “The TikTok bill relies heavily on the control that Apple and Google maintain over their smartphone platforms because the bill’s primary mechanism is to direct Apple and Google to stop allowing the TikTok app on their respective app stores.”

“Such a mechanism might be much less effective in the world envisioned by many advocates of antitrust and aggressive regulation against the large tech firms.”

What will the American creator do?

Andrew Graham, head of digital corporate advisory and partnerships at CAA, emphasizes that while creators won't lose immediate access to TikTok, the looming threat of a U.S. ban “will immediately force dramatic talent platform diversification.”

Graham says that creators are increasingly focusing on platforms like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts to “solve the impact of short-form content monetizing at rates much lower than long-form. TikTok’s most lasting impact may be instigating an erosion of longform monetization on platforms like YouTube.”

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Should one be worried about using TikTok?

Lawmakers and officials from both parties have voiced concerns about Chinese authorities potentially accessing data on TikTok's American users.

Chinese national security laws compel organizations like ByteDance to assist in intelligence gathering, and it's raising concern for the US government.

While Bytedance denies being a tool of the Chinese government and claims not to share US user data, but the ‘date-thefting’ doubt is always looming on the horizon.

Data privacy experts note that the Chinese government could obtain information on Americans through other means, including commercial data brokers.

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