Are TikTok Days Over? US Asks ByteDance To Offloads Stakes In Platform

Are TikTok Days Over? US Asks ByteDance To Offloads Stakes In Platform

The House of Representative has passed a bill, that expects ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok to divest from the social platform.

Juviraj AnchilUpdated: Thursday, March 14, 2024, 01:53 PM IST
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Representative Image | Pixabay

After the US congress grilling that saw the CEO of Show Zi Chew reiterating his Singaporean nationality multiple times to a Republican member, more bad news appears to be in stock for the social media revolution, that the platform has become.

In a recent development, the US lower house, the House of Representative, which is currently led by a Republican-majority, has passed a bill, that expects ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok to divest from the social platform. In contravention to the said condition, the platform could be handed a ban in one of its prime markets, the USA.

Started in 2016, the platform has seen exponential growth, and has barely had a quarter without growth. The platform, that was banned in India due to security reasons, has transformed into one of the most popular social media entities in the US. Its user base is largely young. The recent development would severely impact the company's fortunes, especially while news surrounding the IPO of the company has been making the rounds.

The Conundrum Of ByteDance

According to reports, the American law-makers pin-point at ByteDance, a Chinese-tech company's origin and the purported obligation, that the company has towards the Chinese government in pursuance to Chinese laws. Although, there is no evidence, time and again, security concerns have been raised against the company over allegation of user data being put to malicious by the Chinese government.

This also comes at time, when the US is marching towards its crucial presidential election, that is slated to happen in November 2024. An election, that is deemed as a re-match, that no one wants, incumbent Joe Biden, will take on Republican challenger, and former president Donald Trump. The elections according to the US is a sensitive juncture, and given the precedent of 2016, when Russia allegedly interfered in the election, this move by the Congress is seen a reinforcement mechanism to stop any interference, especially from China.

Protests At The Capitol

Meanwhile, as the news came out, many of the apps users came out to the Capitol Hill conducting protests against the move. Many of them claimed that this step not warranted and would put many, who are dependent on the app, in jeopardy. American tech companies themselves have a questionable track-record, when it comes to privacy concern for better part of the last decade and a half.

The ball now is in the court of the US Senate, which is currently controlled by the ruling Democrats. In an election year, issues such as national security often become hot-topics, that die down after elections, but the repercussions of the actions taking in the eye of the storm will have a lasting impact.

List of countries, that have issued a blanket ban on the app in the past include, India in 2022, Russia in 2022, Taiwan in 2022, Nepal in 2023, Kyrgyzstan in 2023, Jordan in 2022, and Afghanistan. The app does not work in mainland China. In addition, many European countries, including France and the United Kingdom have proscribed government employees from using or having the app on their work devices.

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