What to know about a potential TikTok ban – The Advocate


Congress voted on March 13 to pass a bill that could potentially ban TikTok in the United States. That bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, claims that the Chinese government can use its intelligence information to force ByteDance, TikTok's Beijing-based parent company, to hand over data of TikTok users in the United States . The bill is not without opponents, as many, including TikTok itself, claim that this bill violates users' freedom of speech, a constitutional right under the First Amendment.

TikTok has six months to sell the app or risk losing access to app stores and web hosting services in the USA. The company has spoken out against this ban, stating on its social media page on X, formerly Twitter, that they are “not owned or controlled by the Chinese government.” With the app hosting 5 million small businesses, those who make a living on the app are worried about the future.

Local students also oppose the bill because they believe the bill will do more harm than good. Lesley Garcia, a student at Contra Costa College, stated, “I think it could close the door on free speech,” adding, “Why are they focusing on that and not literally anything else?” For another student, JJ Cole , there also seem to be concerns about income from the app: “I think it's stupid to get rid of an app that people use as a source of income.”

According to CNBC News, the app itself has spent millions on ads urging support. One of them shows TikTok users in front of the US Capitol and the White House, expressing their love for TikTok and their belief about the potential impact this bill will have for users and small businesses that use the app to promote themselves to nourish.

According to the Congressional Research Service, around 7 million US companies and 170 million users use the app.

Many have campaigned for the app, with some calling on their representatives to protest against the bill. A senator got more than he bargained for when North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis received aggressive voicemails that incited violence. One voicemail even went so far as to threaten to shoot him, and another threatened to do so kill him and then yourself, according to The Hill. Tillis reported that call to police.

This bill has even garnered national attention, as has President Biden recently joined TikTok According to his profile on Biden has also signed a law banning TikTok from federal government devices. Vice President Kamala Harris also stated, “We have no intention of banning TikTok” and continued that the app has “very important” benefits in an interview with ABC News senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott on “This Week.”

The decision currently rests with the Senate as Commerce Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has expressed some concerns about the bill and plans to hold a hearing before taking action.

Want to stay up to date on what's happening in and around West Contra Costa County and Contra Costa College? Add your email address to receive The Advocate's monthly newsletter.