Should the U.S. Ban TikTok?

With one billion active users across more than 150 countries, TikTok is by many measures the world’s most successful video app. Nearly one in three Americans have an account. It is the most downloaded app since 2021. And like virtually all of social media, user privacy concerns abound. But TikTok adds an extra layer. Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, there are worries that U.S. data could be transmitted to China’s government, despite assurances from the company that it is not. Those concerns prompted President Joe Biden to ban Tiktok from government phones. More than half of U.S. states have similar controls in place. But with increased tensions between Beijing and Washington, and mounting questions of Chinese surveillance, some are calling for the U.S. to go further and ban the technology outright. Those supporting such a move often to point to a ban on another Chinese tech giant, Huawei, as an effective means of limiting China’s influence and potentially extractive technological efforts. Those who argue against it say a ban would essentially undermine what has become an important tool in the video marketplace, and that such efforts are not only political motivated, but are also easily bypassed. In that context, we debate the following: Should the U.S. Ban TikTok?