Last updated on: 1/22/2024 | Author: ProCon.org

Should TikTok Be Banned?

TikTok is a “social media platform designed for creating, editing, and sharing short videos between 15 seconds and three minutes in length. TikTok provides songs and sounds as well as filters and special effects that users can add to their videos.” The app, launched in 2018, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. here are concerns that the company could share sensitive user data with the Chinese Communist Party (the CCP), track the videos watched by Americans, and even manipulate the information seen by Americans to sway public opinion about China and influence American elections, serving, in a sense, as a propaganda and spying arm of the CCP. Some observers see this mission as part of China’s “Digital Silk Road” initiative, launched in 2015. These concerns have led to debates about whether to ban the app on government devices and, further, for everyday citizens. For more on TikTok bans, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

Pro

Nikki Haley:

“We’re going to ban TikTok. Ban TikTok everywhere.”

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Ken Tran, “Nikki Haley Wants to Ban TikTok, Not Guns: Takeaways from Her 2024 Campaign Stop in N.H.,” usatoday.com, Mar. 28, 2023

Pro

Donald Trump:

“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States.”

Editors’ Note: On Aug. 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13942 that banned transactions between ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) and U.S. citizens, effectively banning the app altogether. However, on Nov. 12, 2020, citing a court case brought by three TikTok stars–Douglas Marland (comedian), Cosette Rinab (fashion influencer), and Alex Chambers (musician)–the U.S. Department of Commerce stated it would not enforce the ban.

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Daniel Lippman, “Trump Says He Plans To Ban TikTok in the U.S.,” politico.com, July 31, 2021

Sources for Editors’ Note: Bobby Allyn, “Trump Signs Executive Order That Will Effectively Ban Use Of TikTok In the U.S.,” npr.org, Aug. 6, 2020
John D. McKinnon and Georgia Wells, “U.S. Backs Down on TikTok,” wsj.com, Nov. 12, 2020

CON (no)

Not Clear or Not Found

Joe Biden:

Editors’ Note: Biden approved a TikTok ban on federal government devices on Dec. 29, 2022 by signing the spending bill in which it was included. The Biden administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (Cifus) demanded that Chinese owners sell their stakes in the app or face a U.S. ban of the app in Mar. 2023. However, Biden signed Executive Order 14034 on June 9, 2021, which overturned Trump’s Executive Order 13942 that banned TikTok (as well as two other Trump executive orders that focused on Chinese social media companies) and ordered a review of foreign-owned apps by government agencies.

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John D. McKinnon, “U.S. Threatens Ban if TikTok’s Chinese Owners Don’t Sell Stakes,” wsj.com, Mar. 15, 2023
David Ingram, “Biden Signs TikTok Ban for Government Devices, Setting Up a Chaotic 2023 for the App,” nbcnews.com, Dec. 30, 2022

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position as of Nov. 7, 2023.