The Chinese owners of TikTok are under pressure from the US authorities to sell the social media site or face being banned.
It comes as an increasing number of nations have expressed worry about what China might do with app user data.
Nevertheless, removing the app from the market is not as simple as it may seem.
The US wants to outlaw TikTok, but why?
Similar types of data are collected by TikTok and other applications, but US officials are worried that these data may end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
According to the US, this information might be used to propagandize or snoop on Americans. It has already prohibited the software from being used on government-owned devices, joining the UK, Canada, and the EU in doing so. In 2020, the app was completely outlawed in India.
TikTok asserts that its business practices are the same as those of other social media platforms and that it would never submit to a request to hand over data to Chinese authorities.
TikTok is used by one in three Americans. Thus a ban on such well-liked software would be unusual in the US.
How does a ban operate?
The most likely method of imposing a government ban would be to issue a directive ordering TikTok’s removal from platforms run by app shops like those run by Apple and Google.
The app would no longer be available for download in that manner, but users who previously had it would still have it on their phones. The software would eventually stop receiving updates, which would pose problems for users.
Could an app store restriction be circumvented?
On most mobile devices, you can alter the region of the app store to access apps from other nations, albeit doing so might violate the terms of service of the devices themselves or the conditions of the downloaded apps.
By altering your device, it’s also feasible to install programs that were downloaded from the internet rather than app stores, albeit doing so would violate copyright laws.
In the end, Apple and Google may choose to deliver upgrades to American devices that specifically prevent the TikTok app from functioning at all, rendering these workarounds useless.
Could the US government completely prevent users from accessing TikTok?
When TikTok was outlawed in India, the government blocked downloads and required internet service providers (ISPs) to completely block the app.
Although there are some workarounds, this makes it more challenging for most Indian ISPs to access the app or website.
Significantly, there are now online variations of the program that people may download to their modified devices to utilize.
Some people have utilized virtual private networks, or VPNs, which establish a secure online connection between your device and another computer and give the impression that you are located somewhere else.
Yet, this might not be sufficient to get around the ban.
According to TikTok’s help website, it determines your general location by looking up your IP address and Sim card.
In other words, TikTok will know you are in the US if your device’s phone number starts with +1 and may prevent your device from using the app.
TikTok might decide not to help the government with any measures and instead permit users in the US to use the site as long as they can discover methods to access it. Nevertheless, it is unknown whether TikTok would choose to forbid users from using the app.
People may still publish, right?
If TikTok were compelled to completely block American accounts, neither individuals nor organizations could post on the app without finding a way to circumvent the restrictions.
TikTok has been used by a lot of people, including companies and content providers, to boost their fame and money. Individuals utilize it to advertise their content and sell goods globally.
More than 5 million companies use TikTok in the US, according to the app. A ban might have a significant negative effect on small businesses’ revenue if they don’t already have a following on other social media platforms.
What is China’s response to this?
China had charged that the US is stifling TikTok and propagating false information, and it had charged that the administration overreacted when it ordered federal employees to remove TikTok from devices that were provided by the government.
How unsure of itself can the world’s leading superpower, the US, be to dread a popular app among young people? Spokeswoman Mao Ning said.