Is the clock ticking for Tik Tok?

Kaitlyn Bowers, Features Editor

We’ve all heard it by now—Tik Tok may be coming to an end for those of us living in the United States. But does the government really have the power to ban TikTok? 

According to associate professor of political science and public administration Michael Binder, it isn’t quite that simple. 

“While a tweet from the president or even an executive order can make things sound dire, there are a lot of legal hurdles that prevent the president from indiscriminately shutting down businesses,” Binder said. 

On August 14, President Trump issued an executive order stating that ByteDance, the China-based company that owns TikTok, has 90 days to sell the app to a US buyer or else the app will be shut down for the country. The executive order gives the app until November 12 to find a buyer, which extended the previous executive order’s deadline of September 20. The latest executive order also requires that ByteDance delete all data collected from US users. 

However, if November 12 comes along without TikTok being acquired by a US company, the use of TikTok will not be outright banned, according to Binder. 

“Government agencies, and elected officials if so inclined and working together to pass legislation, do have the ability to make the regulatory environment particularly inhospitable for the companies that own and run the various social media platforms,” said Binder. “This is indirect pressure that won’t remove the app from an individual’s phone – unless either the app owner or the phone manufacturer (Apple, Samsung, etc.) are on board.”

Therefore, it is not as simple as banning the app; more action will need to be taken by the other parties involved in order to truly get users off the app. This boils down to whether or not the party views this attempted takedown of TikTok as a legitimate security concern or as a retaliation by Trump against TikTok users. Those who see the latter point of view cite the incident at a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma caused by TikTok users as the catalyst for Trump’s executive order. 

Only time will tell if TikTok will be acquired by a US buyer. However, users don’t need to worry about the app disappearing off their phone on November 12 regardless of what happens. 


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