The TikTok ban in the United States is one step closer to becoming a reality. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee approved last Wednesday (03/01), with 24 votes in favor and 16 against, the advancement of the bill which gives US President Joe Biden the power to effectively ban the use of TikTok among Americans.
Now, the measure will be analyzed in the plenary of the House and the US Senate to determine what the next chapters will be.
The White House had already announced a total ban on TikTok on government-owned devices, along with 30 other US states that followed the same moves in their governments. This wave of prohibitions began in the European Union, and then spread across Canada and the United States with an absolute ban on the app on all official devices.
What motivated this wave of bans?
Tensions between China and the West remain high, largely linked to the war in Ukraine and possible spy attacks within the USA.
So, with TikTok being owned by ByteDance, which is based in China, the concern of governments regarding possible data collection and the misuse of any information shared on the app has been raised.
And even though TikTok itself claims that all US user data, for example, is stored in Singapore and the US, there have already been examples of ByteDance employees accessing TikTok user data for research purposes.
So, clearly the security authorities have huge concerns about the use of Americans’ data, and if that extends to government officials, it’s clear that the same prohibition logic also applies to ordinary citizens.
So, what’s the direction of this story?
It is not an exaggeration to say that Tik Tok is a phenomenon among young people across the world. Originally launched as a video sharing platform for short videos, TikTok has become a complete video service with content available for all niches.
The app is available in over 150 countries and has over 1 billion active users. In the USA alone, it was downloaded over 210 million times in 2021, establishing itself as the most downloaded app in the world in the same year.
So, it’s also not an exaggeration to say that banning TikTok for US citizens would be a huge loss for both the company and heavy users.
It’s still hard to estimate which way things will go. I believe the best way is an agreement that the app is working to be able to separate the data of US users from China. Another possible alternative would be the sale of TikTok to a US company, as was already evaluated when the former US president, Donald Trump, tried to ban the app in 2020.
This would be a way to make a US company able to control the data of US citizens, making the government safer regarding the use of the video application on US soil.
But from all this, one thing is certain: with so much money at stake, I believe it is practically impossible for the USA and ByteDance not to reach an agreement on how to continue to market TikTok in the United States in a safe way for both sides.
There are many private interests also involved in this deal. The advertising world today is extremely assiduous on TikTok with its branding and marketing strategies. Certainly, a lot of people would lose out with a total ban on the app in the US.
What remains for us is to continue following this case and hope for an outcome that is not so dramatic, especially for marketing professionals.
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