More bad news for TikTok, with the US House Foreign Affairs Committee today voting to give President Joe Biden the power to ban the Chinese-owned app, if he deems such a move necessary, amid ongoing security discussions around its potential connection to the CCP.
The White House has already announced a full ban of TikTok on government-owned devices, following similar moves in over 30 US states. EU and Canadian officials have also followed suit, banning the app on all official devices, as tensions between China and the west continue to simmer, largely tied back to the Ukraine conflict.
Earlier this month, the US ordered a Chinese balloon to be shot down, amid concerns that it was being used to spy on the US and Canada, while rumors of China’s continued support for Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have also put it on a collision course with western governments.
Within this, TikTok has become a bigger focus. And while the app has been under CFIUS review for almost two years, discussions around its future are now accelerating, which could see it banned outright in the US sometime soon.
TikTok responded to the news with this statement:
Today’s announcement doesn’t give Biden the full green light to ban the app, with the US Senate still required to give sign-off before a ban could be implemented. But it’s another step towards that next stage, which increasingly feels like it will lead to a TikTok ban, or at the least, a significant change in direction for the app.
Former US President Donald Trump ordered TikTok to be sold to a US company in 2020, or face a full ban in the region. That option may still be another way to go, which could eventually see TikTok under new management, as opposed to going dark in the US.
But then again, a lot now depends on China’s next moves, and whether it continues to clash with the US.
The spy balloon incident feels like a turning point, of sorts, in this push, and it may be that relations between the two economic superpowers have now deteriorated to the point where the US feels compelled to act.
Clearly, security officials have major concerns, and if that extends to government employees, it stands to reason that the same logic could apply to regular citizens as well.
We now await the next steps.