Why is the White House considering banning TikTok, how would they do it
HOUSTON - A report in the Wall Street Journal says the Biden Administration is threatening a possible ban of the popular social media app, TikTok, claiming it threatens national security.
With more than 100 million U.S. users, more than half of the states and the federal government have already banned TikTok on government devices as a response to growing tensions with China. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and there are concerns user data is available to prying eyes in Beijing.
Heading into the Houston Rodeo, 'some' rodeo-goers were ready for some postable moments, and the thought of losing the social-media platform does not go over well. "I wouldn't like that," says TikTok user LaTisha Wilson, "I get a lot of information from TikTok, and I also put a lot of information on TikTok, myself."
TIKTOK: Nearly half of Americans would support a ban on TikTok, poll finds
Houston tech writer Jeff Balke is also fond of TikTok, "Personally, it would be a bummer." He says he understands the concern that the data connected to the endless stream of posts might provide some unintended insight to people, or governments, with access to it.
Layered on top of that, China's 2017 'National Intelligence Law' says any data collected by a Chinese company that's deemed of 'national security' value, could belong to the Chinese government. It's a big deal, since everything we do on social media, or online, is collected.
"I think people don't really fully get that, at any time, a company that collects this data can determine, really, what you like; what you don't like; who you are, down to some very nitty-gritty details about your life," says Balke.
As to how TikTok might be banned, tech experts believe the apps could be turned off, while servers connected to TikTok could be blocked. A larger argument is whether it's right. "It becomes a slippery slope," says digital marketing firm, Vertical Web, owner Beth Guide. "You don't like TikTok, this week. Who are you not going to like next week? I don't like the feel of any of it."
RELATED: White House gives federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government devices
The ALCU has already argued that a TikTok ban would be a first amendment violation, but FOX 26 Senior Legal Analyst Chris Tritico suggests the government's duty to protect national security overrides the right to free speech, much like you can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater.
For its part, TikTok has said it already has a plan to run its data through U.S. servers to filter any personal data from leaving the country. The White House must decide whether that's a believable course of action.