Time is ticking for potential TikTok termination


The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill to potentially ban TikTok on March 7. 

This bill is referred to as the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Application Act” and was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois). 

If the bill is passed, it would require ByteDance, the China-based parent company of TikTok, to sell the app or face a ban in the United States. It would also allow the President of the United States to determine if social media apps, under the control of adversary countries to the U.S., are considered national security threats. If the platform is considered to be a risk, then app stores would have 180 days to remove the app, according to NBC News. 

Lawmakers fear that the Chinese Communist Party is stealing and collecting data on American users through the app. However, TikTok is not directly mentioned in the bill, but several representatives have referred to the app in comments they’ve made. 

Gallagher issued a press release in which he said, “This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users.” TikTok has responded to the bill by posting a message to the app, where it encourages users to reach out to their representatives. 

The message says, “Congress is planning a total ban of TikTok. This will damage millions of businesses, destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country, and deny artists an audience. Let Congress know what TikTok means to you and tell them to vote NO.” 

TikTok is the number one entertainment app in Apple’s App Store and an estimated 170 million people have TikTok in the United States. 

The use of social media in the professional field has also taken off, with many businesses using the app to reach a younger target audience. 

Lauren Henry, a recent University of Central Oklahoma grad, is now a multimedia journalist for KTUL News Channel 8 in Tulsa. 

Like many others, social media apps like TikTok have been an additional tool to use for Henry.

“TikTok is another tool for journalists to use and not having access to it could very well limit what stories are brought to light,” Henry said. “On many occasions, I have seen footage posted straight to TikTok that inspired stories I’ve covered.” 

TikTok often has content that has gone viral and ended up on the news. According to Henry, multiple news outlets referenced TikTok in their coverage of students licking their teacher’s toes at Deer Creek after the videos went viral. 

Many news stations have been generating content and posting on TikTok and other social media platforms to generate more engagement. 

“I think it would be a major hit in terms of engagement from younger audiences, especially if they aren’t seeing the content on the app they use the most,” Henry said. 

After passing the House, the bill moves to the Senate, where its future will be decided. 

“I’m not sure what will happen, but I believe there are other issues that should be addressed instead of TikTok usage,” Henry said.

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