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BREAKING NEWS: “TikTok Ban” Bill soars through the House

Alex Gaines ’25
Many Staples students were worried as pop-up buttons that read “Stop the TikTok Ban!” showed up on their phones a few days ago, an effort made by Bytedance, the company that owns Tiktok, to kill the bill dubbed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Act.” The bill has potential to ban TikTok in the U.S., as the legislation made its way through the House this past week and now finds itself trying to slug through the Senate.

After a 352-65 vote this past Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a new bill that would grant the President the ability to deem social media apps under control of foreign contenders, such as TikTok, as national security threats, and issue a ban of the app from all online app stores — unless the foreign entities disinvest within 180 days of designition.

The bill, Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Control Act, will now attempt to make its way through the Senate.Should it be approved, President Biden has mentioned that he will sign it into law. 

The bill arose from concern regarding ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok.. The main concern was born in the connection that ByteDance has to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the access that the CCP has to the data belonging to American users. The goal of the law would not be solely to ban TikTok, but rather, pressure its China-based owner to sell portions of its stake down to 20%.

Many Staples students are distraught by the potential of their favorite app being “banned” from the United States — meaning no new updates will occur, nor will new downloads for new users. With roughly 50 million American users spending an average of an hour on TikTok per day, the fear of its outlaw has plagued the nation. 

“I feel really upset about TikTok being banned because I feel like it was a really big part of my childhood,” Rhiya Anand ’25 said. 

The debate on whether or not to ban TikTok has existed for the past couple of years and has invoked passion within both Democrats and Republican representatives, including Connecticut’s representative Jim Himes. Himes was one of the 50 Democrats to vote against the bill, citing that banning TikTok would be a danger to democracy as it would impede on the First Amendment rights of Americans greatly. 

“Adversaries like China shut down newspapers, broadcast stations, and social media platforms. We do not,” Himes said in a statement. “We trust our citizens to be worthy of their democracy. We do not trust our government to decide what information they may or may not see.”

I don’t know that it’s a First Amendment violation because there are other social media platforms. I understand how it can be a security concern, but I don’t know how severe the concern would be. If China or any other group were infiltrating or buying user data information, they probably have already done it.

— English teacher Jesse Bauks

Many students and teachers have contemplated the reality of the ban passing through the House.  The debate on the ban being necessary to the security of the nation or a violation of rights has percolated the Staples’ halls.

“I don’t know that it’s a First Amendment violation because there are other social media platforms,” English teacher Jesse Bauks said. “I understand how it can be a security concern, but I don’t know how severe the concern would be. If China or any other group were infiltrating or buying user data information, they probably have already done it.”

The likelihood of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Control Act passing through the polarized Senate in a timely manner is low, especially due to the fact that the banning of TikTok has been a frequent discussion in recent years. Trump attempted to ban the application as well as Chinese-owned WeChat in 2020, but was blocked by Federal Courts who cited he had overstepped his authority in using his emergency economic powers to put these applications out of business. 

“I feel like this is a discussion every year,” Molly Whittle ’25 said, “whether or not TikTok should or should not get banned, and I feel like if it is such a controversial topic then there is obviously a reason for it. I’m honestly for the ban of TikTok.”

Many users nationwide, including minors, experienced pop-up buttons while using the app that said “Stop the TikTok Ban Now!” The pop-up led the users to a site encouraging them to call their local members of Congress, particularly those in the committee in which the bill was born, and it encouraged users to ask them not to pass the legislation. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a House Representative from Illinois and a member of the Energy and Commerce committee, stated that the bill passed the committee in a 50-0 vote last Thursday, which is practically unheard of. The numbers were credited to the overwhelming number of calls the committee received, highlighting the potential impact that ByteDance and the CCP has on young Americans and their political actions. 

Another concern about the banning of TikTok are the thousands of small businesses that rely on the platform for proceeds, a number nearing five million this year. With the implementation of “TikTok Shop” in November of 2022, the sales and survival of these businesses are entirely dependent on the upholding of the app.  

“I feel bad for those people whose main source of income was through TikTok, now they have to find something else in very little time,” Anand said. “Their life will be completely changed.”

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About the Contributors
Nina Bowens '25, On The Wreckord Producer
On The Wreckord Producer Nina Bowens ’25 has had a passion for producing and editing long before joining Inklings.  “I have a love for acting and on-camera work from my childhood,” Bowens said. “When I was little, I used to use Imovie and make youtube videos and not post them, and I just fell in love with editing.”  Bowens wanted a creative outlet where she could write articles and make videos when she joined Inklings, but she found a sense of belonging too.  “I love the friendships I have made here,” Bowens said. “It truly is a special environment.”
Alex Gaines ’25, Creative Director
Creative Director Alex Gaines ’25 is no stranger to the newsroom. Gaines became intrigued by journalism at Ursus, where she was in awe at the complex layouts Inklings produced. “I used to always compare our papers to the Inklings papers,” Gaines said. “I remember being intrigued by the layouts, which I think drew me to the creative director position.” Though being creative director is a full time job, Gaines still finds time to pursue her other ambitions. “I took a class at UCLA on marketing,” Gaines said. “It was super interesting because I definitely want to pursue something in business.”  

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