Opinion: What Happens to TikTok? Six Ways the Fight to Ban It Could Play Out
TikTok, the popular video app with Chinese owners, is in limbo. The Biden administration has threatened to ban it due to security concerns, but there’s no deadline for a decision. Congress might want to have a say, leaving TikTok users and critics asking what will happen to the app, and here are six plausible paths forward:
Scenario 1: Congress dooms TikTok
A bipartisan group of senators introduced the RESTRICT Act last month, giving the U.S. commerce secretary broad power to regulate or ban technology from six countries, including China. If the House and Senate pass it, a ban could become a reality less than a year after Congress acts.
Scenario 2: Congress doesn’t act, but Biden bans it anyway
If Congress doesn’t pass the bill, the Biden administration could still try to restrict or ban TikTok using its current legal authority. A lot of legal and political risk is involved in this path.
Scenario 3: Biden does something small, or nothing at all
The administration and TikTok have been negotiating over a potential agreement. It could be that those talks result in something that satisfies Biden. Or other U.S.-China relationship issues might take precedence, and the threat of TikTok fades.
Scenario 4: Judges protect TikTok
The courts came to TikTok’s rescue in 2020. If TikTok or its users were to sue, either after a White House move or ahead of time, judges might protect TikTok again.
Scenario 5: TikTok leaves the U.S.
If TikTok decides the risk is too great, it could pull out of the U.S. which would leave its competitors such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts in a stronger position.
Scenario 6: TikTok becomes a U.S. company
Microsoft and Oracle have both made attempts to acquire TikTok in 2020 but ultimately failed. It’s possible a U.S. company could take over TikTok and allow it to operate.
– TikTok claims to have more than 100 million active U.S. users, mainly amongst younger generations.
– The TikTok algorithm, unlike many other social media platforms, has remained a mystery to users and experts.
– TikTok has been accused of censorship, including removing videos or making them unavailable in certain countries.
– The United States is not the only country investigating TikTok and other Chinese tech companies.
– The use of TikTok in politics during the 2020 U.S. election was widely debated, with some accusing the app of spreading misinformation or having biases.
The future of TikTok is uncertain, and while Congress might want a say, there are various paths forward, including banning it or allowing it to operate under certain conditions. Ultimately, the fate of TikTok could depend on political and legal risks, user demand, and competition from other social media platforms.
TikTok’s fate is a highly debated topic among its millions of users and critics. With six plausible paths forward, it’s unclear which direction the U.S. administration will take, leaving various possibilities for TikTok’s future. The outcome remains to be seen.