As the popular Chinese-owned app TikTok faces increasing scrutiny from the US government, a nationwide ban on the platform remains uncertain.
Although the Biden administration demanded that TikTok’s owners divest their stakes in the app or face a possible ban.
Past attempts to ban it have proven unsuccessful.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to block TikTok using an executive order.
However, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which the order was based on, exempts the import or export of “informational materials” and “personal communication.”
As a result, any ban would likely face First Amendment challenges.
While two bills in Congress could give the president authority to ban apps like TikTok on national security grounds, the RESTRICT Act will likely succeed.
However, gaining enough support for a successful vote and the president’s signature would still take several months.
Even if passed, the Commerce Department would have six months to begin reviewing transactions and another six months to complete the reviews and take action.
Meanwhile, TikTok is expected to challenge any attempt to ban the app, having previously quashed Trump’s efforts.
Advocates argue that the First Amendment protects Americans’ right to access their choice of social media platforms.
The government must prove that privacy and security concerns cannot be addressed in narrower ways before banning a platform used by millions of Americans.
In the event of a nationwide ban, Senator Mark Warner believes that creators who make a living off TikTok would be able to succeed on other platforms.
He points to the success of YouTube users and other American sites that reimburse creators at higher rates than TikTok.
Although TikTok has faced criticism for spreading misinformation and its potential national security risks.
It remains to be seen whether the US government will take action to ban the app.
The process would involve several complicated political and technological steps, making a sudden nationwide ban unlikely.
However, the future of TikTok in the US remains to be determined as the story continues to develop.