From virality to vulnerability: TikTok ban's economic and online freedom implications

The shocking cost of a TikTok ban: Assessing its toll on the economy and online freedom

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PUREVPNDigital FreedomThe shocking cost of a TikTok ban: Assessing its toll on the economy and online freedom


President Joe Biden has officially signed the legislature that would ban TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform owned, if its not sold within a year. The app is owned by a China-based company called ByteDance, which has already called the TikTok ban “unconstitutional.”

“This unconstitutional law is a TikTok ban, and we will challenge it in court,” the TikTok representatives wrote on X (formerly Twitter) following Biden’s signing. “This ban would devastate seven million businesses and silence 170 million Americans.”

The hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has become a fixture in the lives of social media enthusiasts across the world. From discovering music stars to fueling the influencer economy, TikTok has undeniably carved its niche and 170 million Americans use it every single day. 

But what if all that scrolling could suddenly come to a halt? A proposed TikTok ban in the US has many users worried, and with good reason. The potential TikTok ban in the US has sparked a contentious debate, with lawmakers and experts weighing the economic, privacy, and online freedom implications of such a decision. 

Let’s dive into the potential economic and online freedom implications of a nationwide ban, and explore the privacy concerns that ignited this debate in the first place.

National security threats

Amidst the debate surrounding the TikTok ban, concerns over data privacy and national security have taken center stage. The rumblings of a TikTok ban started with national security fears. Lawmakers worried that user data could fall into the hands of the Chinese government, potentially posing a threat, as highlighted by The New York Times

This isn’t the first time an app has faced such scrutiny. Remember the Montana TikTok ban in 2023? It was struck down by a judge citing First Amendment concerns. The same argument is likely to play out on a national scale if a TikTok ban bill RESTRICT Act, S.686, 118th Cong. reaches the US President’s desk.

Meanwhile, TikTok denies these allegations, claiming user data is stored outside of China and subject to strict security measures. But the whispers from the FBI chief of a “potential” threat are enough for some to push for a complete ban. 

But here’s the catch, such a move could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech. 

The Restrict Act: A broader threat to online freedom

Interestingly, some argue the TikTok ban itself might be the least concerning aspect of this situation.

For example, USA Today warns of the Restrict Act, a bill that would grant the federal government unilateral control to shut down any online group exceeding 1 million Americans. This applies to everything from influencers to corporations and even Congress itself.

The free flow of information is the lifeblood of a democracy. It empowers citizens, fosters innovation, and holds those in power accountable. Complete access to information allows individuals to ask critical questions, track where our tax dollars go, and shine a light on areas where transparency is lacking.  

However, the Restrict Act, with its broad power to silence large online groups, could severely limit this vital exchange of information, hence, putting an end to cyber freedom and freedom of speech. 

In this context, the potential ban on TikTok, impacting over 150 million Americans, becomes even more concerning. 

It’s not just about the loss of a popular app; it’s about the potential oppression of education, opportunity, and the ability of these users to connect with each other. National security is important, but we must carefully weigh these concerns against the fundamental right to free speech and a free flow of information online.

Economic ramifications: Millions of businesses and creators left in the dust

Let’s face it, TikTok is a cultural and economic powerhouse. With tens of millions of users spending considerable time on the platform each day, businesses and creators rely on TikTok as a vital avenue for reaching customers and audiences. The influencer economy, fueled by TikTok’s virality, faces a significant setback, potentially leading to devastating consequences. 

According to TikTok, 83% of users find the app’s advertisements entertaining, and one in four users worldwide have bought or looked into a product after seeing it on the app. So, a US TikTok ban would be an economic earthquake for these businesses and individuals.

Remember the catastrophic consequences experts warned about regarding the Montana TikTok ban? Multiply that by a nationwide scale. Small businesses that rely on TikTok for marketing, and influencers who’ve built their brands there – all would be left scrambling for alternatives.  

While established players like Meta (who owns Instagram) and Google (who owns YouTube) might see a surge in users and ad revenue, it wouldn’t replace the unique ecosystem TikTok has fostered.

Read more: US House Passes Bill: ByteDance’s TikTok Faces Divest-or-Ban Challenge

The future of data privacy: Are US tech giants any better?

Privacy concerns are a major reason behind the TikTok ban push. There have been suspicions, fueled by reports of China-based employees accessing non-public data about US users. 

But let’s be honest, data collection is hardly unique to TikTok. US tech giants like Facebook and Google have been under fire for similar data collection practices for years.  So, is the issue truly about privacy, or is there something more at play?

Here’s the thing, a US TikTok ban wouldn’t magically solve the broader issue of data privacy. It would simply set a dangerous precedent, empowering the government to potentially target other foreign apps in the future. Wouldn’t it be better to address data privacy concerns across the board, regardless of an app’s origin?

Read more: Best ways to safeguard yourself against TikTok threats & security concerns

Is TikTok on the chopping block?

The proposed ban on TikTok is the latest flashpoint in the ongoing competition between the US and China. Washington DC is particularly concerned about potential foreign influence campaigns, and in the case of TikTok, lawmakers suspect ByteDance, the app’s owner, could be beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.

Citing national security risks, the US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that could lead to a nationwide ban of the popular video app TikTok. The legislation received a vote of 352-65, and now moves to the Senate where its future remains uncertain.

Lawmakers are concerned about the app’s current ownership structure. Currently, it’s owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance Ltd., and in case the bill is passed, what will be next?

Well, it could either force the app’s Chinese owner ByteDance to divest from the company — or face a ban.

Even if a TikTok ban bill passes, enforcing it wouldn’t be easy. Tech-savvy users could potentially turn to reliable VPNs (virtual private networks) like PureVPN to access the app.

Here’s where PureVPN steps in to help you navigate this uncertain future:

1. Keep tracking at bay

Shield your TikTok from the prying eye of ISPs and advertisers with PureVPN’s anonymous IP. This protects you against a range of threats, including:

  • DDoS attacks: Malicious attempts to overwhelm your connection with traffic.
  • IP forgery: Someone else impersonating your online identity.
  • Tracking: ISPs and advertisers monitoring your online activity.

2. Protect your data

PureVPN utilizes robust 256-bit AES encryption, the same industry standard employed by banks and governments. This military-grade encryption safeguards your data on TikTok, ensuring your online activity remains private and secure.

3. Seamless streaming  

Buffering and lagging can ruin the TikTok experience. PureVPN tackles this issue by offering a vast network of 6,000+ secure servers strategically located around the globe. This ensures a smooth, uninterrupted connection for your TikTok enjoyment.

4. Bypass TikTok bans with a simple click

The potential TikTok ban raises concerns about limited access to the app. PureVPN’s extensive network allows you to access TikTok freely. Explore trending content, and showcase your creativity without limitations and bans.

5. Fast speeds 

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can sometimes throttle bandwidth, leading to frustrating slowdowns and buffering. PureVPN prevents ISP throttling, ensuring you enjoy captivating content on TikTok without any speed limitations.

Remember, a free and open internet is crucial for innovation, free expression, and access to information. A US TikTok ban, even with the best intentions, could set a slippery slope in motion. Imagine a future where governments around the world start blocking apps based on political agendas – that’s a future we should all be working to avoid.

Read more: Restoring influence: The best tips to get unbanned from TikTok 2024

Bottom line

The potential TikTok ban in the US is a complex issue with no easy answers. 

As the debate over the TikTok ban unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that the decision carries profound implications for the economy, privacy landscape, and online freedom. Balancing national security imperatives with the principles of free expression and privacy rights presents a formidable challenge for policymakers and legal experts alike. 

Ultimately, the fate of TikTok in the US will not only shape the future of social media but also influence broader debates surrounding technology governance and civil liberties in the digital age.

While the debate surrounding the TikTok ban update continues, one thing is clear: the stakes are high, and the consequences are far-reaching. 

To stay updated on how to stay safe online, follow PureVPN Blog.

Read more: Is your phone listening to you secretly? It’s time to discover the shocking truth!

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