The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

TikTok controversy highlights U.S. and China conflict

Throughout the halls of AHS, countless discussions can be heard about IB exams, prom season, and what people are up to on the social media platform, TikTok. From AHS’ famous staircase, to the theater department’s new viral Mean Girls video, AHS has truly made its mark on the platform.

However, these discussions have begun to shift towards whether or not AHS will continue having its claim to TikTok fame much longer as U.S. lawmakers debate a nationwide ban on the social media platform.

According to a CBS news article, “Why U.S. Officials Want to Ban TikTok,” the U.S. Senate had a bipartisan vote of 79-18 on implementing a national ban of TikTok. This vote was taken in late April.

The decision to ban the app has received criticism nationwide, especially from those who believe that TikTok should not be the focus of U.S. political efforts. Still, many lawmakers claim that the decision to implement the ban has deeper roots in social and political relations between the U.S. and China.

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TikTok has a parent company in China called ByteDance. In order to keep TikTok working in the United States, ByteDance was given up to a year to sell its stake in TikTok, which was an order signed into law by President Biden.
Despite U.S. demands for ByteDance to sell its stakes, the Chinese government has opposed this forced order.

Overall, U.S. officials have stated that the app is a threat to national security.
Both Democrats and Republicans in positions of governmental power have agreed on the ban, emphasizing their concern for user data being exploited.

However, many still argue against the ban, especially due to TikTok’s claims that it is not as associated with the Chinese government as U.S. officials have made it out to be.

“TikTok has been owned by the same people for so long, so what has changed that makes it a problem now?” sophomore Ryan Adu-Gyamfi said.

Many view the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of speech and press as American citizens. TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, says that “the facts and the Constitution are on our side,” referring to those against the ban.
TikTok Newsroom claims that “TikTok user data is protected by strong physical and logical security controls.”

Although TikTok still collects personal information, the purpose of these safety methods is to ensure that users, regardless of national status, are able to have privacy and limited access to the data of others or the exploitation of their own data.

Despite recent rise in debate, the NBC News article, “Biden Signs a Bill That Could Ban TikTok– After the 2024 Election,” outlines how the ban will not be happening before the election cycle is over. With ByteDance’s extension, a total ban could potentially not be implemented until after April of 2025.

This date could be extended even further depending on how the legal proceedings occur.

“I feel sad mostly because all my drafts are [going to] be deleted and I have so many memories in there,” says senior Gianna Coulter. However, she also mentions that there are still other media platforms, so it “wouldn’t be the end of the world.”

Overall, TikTok has served as a source of community, comfort, and financial opportunity for many. However, like most social media platforms, it has also come with certain negatives in terms of media reliance and internet security. As the issue continues to be a topic of debate, time will tell whether or not AHS will continue its rise to TikTok fame.

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About the Contributor
Christina Abouzeki
Christina Abouzeki, Co-International Editor
Senior Christina Abouzeki is in her second year of journalism as a Co-International Editor. She loves reading, listening to music, and traveling. She plays on the varsity volleyball team and the violin in the philharmonic orchestra. Outside of school, she also likes to spend time with her friends and family.

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