Newswise – This week’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming 352-65 majority could lead to a nationwide ban on the popular social media app TikTok. The bill now heads to the Senate and President Biden has said he will sign it when it lands on his desk. TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which some lawmakers say poses a potential threat to national security because of its surveillance capabilities.

“Banning a platform is unique and the law represents a greater awareness of the power of social media in disinformation and privacy,” said Virginia Tech expert Cayce Myers. “It is unusual to target a specific company in this way, but it could signal a new approach to social media regulation.”

Myers, a professor of public relations at Virginia Tech’s School of Communication, shares his expertise on the motivations and potential impact of this bill on both TikTok and social media in general.

What is behind this bill?

“The bill was introduced due to fears of espionage by the Chinese government through TikTok. Many members of Congress fear that the Chinese government could require ByteDance to use the app to collect information about Americans or spread disinformation. There has been a bipartisan effort to separate ByteDance from TikTok to promote U.S. national security. Because ByteDance opposes the sale of TikTok, this bill amounts to a ban on the platform in the United States.”

What potential obstacles exist in the Senate and the Executive Branch?

“Opponents of the bill say this law will ultimately ban TikTok, harming companies and influencers who use the platform for a living. Users lose intellectual property and followers who support their business when the platform is unavailable. Should the bill become law, it is very likely that there will be a slew of lawsuits alleging that the federal government is going too far by targeting one company and that banning a major platform Users’ rights to freedom of expression are compromised. These lawsuits will ultimately result in a protracted legal battle that may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Right now it’s about what happens with this bill in the U.S. Senate. President Biden has indicated he would sign the TikTok bill, so the only obstacle is the U.S. Senate.”

What other consequences might there be for the tech industry if this bill passes?

“The impact of this bill impacts both TikTok and the social media industry. Of course, for ByteDance, the new law, if it goes into effect, would require the company to divest TikTok. If they don’t sell, there would be a ban on providing TikTok updates and app stores like Apple wouldn’t host the app because of civil penalties. Ultimately, TikTok would effectively disappear in the US. If Tiktok wasn’t sold, users would likely migrate to other platforms like Instagram and YouTube, making these channels even bigger and more influential. The outsized influence of U.S.-based social media outlets like Facebook is another issue that worries many Democrats and Republicans.

“This problem also has a practical side. Selling TikTok would be an expensive venture, and there aren’t many buyers at that price. Selling the company could be more difficult than expected. In its current version, the draft law sets a deadline of six months for the sale. That might be easier said than done.”

About Myers Cayce Myers is professor of public relations and head of graduate studies at the School of Communication at Virginia Tech. His work focuses on media history, political communication and laws that influence the practice of public relations. He is the author of “Public Relations History: Theory Practice” and “Profession and Money in Politics: Campaign Fundraising in the 2020 Presidential Election.” Read more Here.

Arrange an interview
To arrange an interview with Cayce Myers, contact Noah Frank in the media relations office at [email protected] or 805-453-2556.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *