Fallout from possible ban of TikTok app explained

 March 20, 2024

Following the House passage of a bill that would require Chinese company ByteDance's popular app TikTok to either be banned in the United States or divest from its parent company within six months, questions have arisen about how this could impact the upcoming election.

At this point, the legislation still has to go through the Senate; however, when that will take is still unclear, and individuals who use the app and creators alike are trying to understand what the aftermath will be if it passes, according to Yahoo News.

Given that we are in an election year and that social media is a major source of news for Americans, as per the Pew Research Center, this is particularly noteworthy.

Rise in Popularity

Since the year 2020, the proportion of American adults who say they routinely obtain their news from TikTok has nearly doubled in total number, making it a huge chunk of the overall population.

The app is most popular with those in the 18–29 age range, though it is popular throughout the population.

“Between the last presidential election cycle and this one, we’ve seen over 16 million young people come of age, and those young people are digital natives,” DeNora Getachew, the CEO of DoSomething.org, told Yahoo News.

“We believe [a TikTok ban] will have an impact on where people are getting their news from.”

Supporters of the App

One of the biggest NGOs supporting young people enacting social change is DoSomething.org. Getachew, a millennial and Gen Z voter specialist stated that while she didn't believe the prohibition would lower voter turnout, it might have repercussions for elected officials.

“Young people have told [politicians] unapologetically and unequivocally that they are frustrated about the lack of action with policies at the federal level that are addressing their most grave concerns: reproductive health access, gun violence prevention, student loan debt,” she explained.

“Juxtapose that with how quickly they’re working in Congress to address [TikTok].”

Legislative Dissenters

Similar observations were made by a representative for the social media platform who told Yahoo News that the bill was "jammed through" to the Senate, denoting the company's obvious frustration of the company with the legislation.

The TikTok ban suggestion, according to conservative media strategist Alex Bruesewitz, was "a boneheaded move."

The strategist was particularly down about the potential fallout of the move in an election year and when youth are already "pessimistic" about the status quo in government. Bruesewitz made this statement to Yahoo News.

“They have little faith in the government, they have little faith in the media, they have little faith in institutions,” he said, referring to young voters. “These kids want hope.”

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