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Is TikTok Getting Banned? ‘US To Ban TikTok’ Rumors Explained

What does a news conference about national security have to do with TikTok?

TikTok Logo Banned Symbol

UPDATE 3/8/2023: The RESTRICT Act, which has bipartisan support and endorsement from the White House, “would give the Commerce Department new power to review tech products for national security risks if they are sold or run by companies connected to officially designated foreign adversaries — including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela.” While the Bill does not mention TikTok explicitly and seems to be targeted at a wide range of technologies (like artificial intelligence and quantum computing), it does include giving Biden the power to force foreign-owned companies to divest their U.S. operations or imposing a full-fledged ban.

UPDATE: Senator Marco Rubio has just unveiled a bipartisan bill to ban TikTok in the US.  Rubio has previously railed against American Airlines offering in-flight TikTok and called on President Biden to ban the app, but this is the first actual piece of legislation proposed that would actually outright ban the app. FBI Director Chris Wray has recently raised concerns that TikTok’s algorithm could allow the Chinese government to manipulate content, influence operations, or just plain spy on people.

Some Twitter users have pointed out the hypocrisy of trying to ban the app while literal US Senators like Rand Paul are being accused of being propagandists for other countries. However, two negatives don’t always make a positive. Though it’s notable that despite Facebook literally being questioned by the government for involvement in election misinformation, there has almost never been any talk about banning the app.

Attorney General Merrick Garland was slated to host a news conference on October 24th, to speak on the “significant national security cases addressing malign influence schemes and alleged criminal activity by a nation-state actor in the United States.”

So why do so many people think it’s about TikTok being banned?


The rumor appears to have started when Andrew Aziz tweeted early this morning that the DOJ meeting must be about banning TikTok.

Aziz is a Canadian proprietary fund manager of Peak Capital Trading (and occasional anti-masker) who seems to be focusing on the financial aspect of Snap and Meta not having to compete with TikTok but had very little evidence to support his claims. But, he’s verified on Twitter so people automatically lend what he says credence.

While some were celebrating the apparent downfall of TikTok, others doubted that it was even happening, either due to distrust in the government to act or general doubt in it actually happening. And given the apparent “source” of these rumors, I think a handful of doubt was a healthy reaction.

Previous Ban Attempts

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time the government had considered banning TikTok.

Donald Trump previously attempted to ban the platform, possibly because of TikTokers’ coordinated attempt to inflate his Tulsa rally numbers to make him look bad when attendance was actually low. However, these ban rumors came after reports that TikTok is terrible at culling election misinformation on their platform and that American users would still be in danger of having data stolen even if Biden were to make a deal with the company to ensure American data is kept secure.

It would seem weird for this to happen after the Biden administration has used TikTok and TikTok creators to help with youth outreach. Biden recently had a forum with trans TikToker Dylan Mulvaney on the Republican attempts to control trans children, specifically their access to healthcare.

Of course, plenty of politicians and administrations shame with one hand and enjoy with the other, so it’s entirely possible that they are both seeking to stop TikTok while also using it. At the very least, we know the administration is seeking to curb its danger to its users. Only time will tell how seriously they are taking the threat.

The Conference

While writing this article, the conference aired and did not appear to be about TikTok, instead focusing on the attempt by some Chinese intelligence agents to intimidate double agents into helping them. Still, it is an interesting look at the ramping up of the intelligence war between China and the U.S.

(featured image: TikTok)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.