What You Need to Know About the TikTok Ban: Time is Ticking Away

Art by Anaika Mehta ‘27

By Cassie Ball & Fiona Miller ’26

When winding down after a long day of rigorous academics, some Grace students curl up with a book or a “scroll sesh” on TikTok. Recently, there have been rumors about a TikTok ban, and many students are confused and worried about what will happen to their daily relaxation period on TikTok. 

We interviewed Grace Students about the TikTok ban and what they thought about it. When asked how she would feel about a ban, Quinny L-T. ‘24 said, “I mean, I would be sad. I use TikTok a lot.” 

Other students, like Walker F. ‘24, say they “wouldn’t miss it much, but if Instagram reels were banned, I might cry.”

Many students seem unconcerned about the potential TikTok ban because there have been threats of other TikTok bans in the past that have not been carried out. According to The Guardian, when former President Trump proposed a ban on TikTok on Friday, July 31, 2020, the ban did not happen because a judge in Washington said that a ban might “likely exceed the bounds of the law.” 

Recently, there has been much discussion about whether TikTok’s ties to China threaten the safety of the U.S. According to CBS, “U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that TikTok threatens national security because the Chinese government could use it to spy on Americans or weaponize it to covertly influence the U.S. public by amplifying or suppressing certain content.”

Many government officials like Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) have shared their concerns. Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said, “The idea that we would give the Communist Party this much of a propaganda tool, as well as the ability to scrape 170 million Americans’ personal data, it is a national security risk” in an interview with CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

The TikTok ban bill passed in the Senate on Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2024. Should we be worried? The bill was also overwhelmingly passed in the House, 360 to 58, prior to its passage in the Senate and will, therefore, go straight to President Biden. If the bill goes through everyone, TikTok will have 270 days from April 24 to sell to an American buyer, or it will be banned in the US. 

TikTok will not sell, though. Their only other option is to appeal the law in court, which they’ve said they’ll do. On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, President Biden “signed the ​​bill into law,” so TikTok will take the law to court. If TikTok decides to sell, they have nine months to do so. The current state of TikTok remains a question. In nine months, there could be a new president, and in that case, the decision to ban Tiktok would partially rest in their hands

Following the president’s signature on the bill, TikTok clapped back. On TikTok, there is an official profile @TikTok, where the company can share important community news. Recently, there has been a TikTok going around in which the CEO of TikTok shares what he thinks of Biden’s ban on the platform. Shou Zi Chew urges the community to stand up for their rights and compares TikTok’s values to fundamental American values like those described in the First Amendment. 

“Make no mistake, this is a ban. A ban on TikTok and a ban on you and YOUR voice.”

Mr. Chew, the CEO, further said, “Politicians may say otherwise, but don’t get confused; many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is their ultimate goal.” 

The issue with this post is that it is very difficult to fact-check exactly what he says because this is a TikTok, and there are no sources. TikTok is extremely accessible to everyone; the video had 16.2 million views. Compared to the account’s other video views — which were on average between 1 million to 500 thousand views — this video might have been boosted on TikTok because the difference in views on this video compared to the account’s other videos is drastic. Many people have seen this video. For the people who don’t follow major news sites, this video may not be a reliable source, as viewers may not understand the true motives behind the creator making this video. 

Still of a the video posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 by @TikTok
The comments on the video posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 by @TikTok

It is possible that TikTok is against this ban because the company cares about fostering a community and upholding the American Constitution, but it is also possible that the company is most concerned with losing money and users from this ban. 

In addition to videos from the CEO on TikTok, community members have shared their opinions on the ban. Many influencers and small businesses are angry because, without TikTok, they won’t have a platform or revenue.

Makeup influencer James Charles expresses his concern about the government’s priorities in a TikTok posted by @staytunednbc. “We are starving, and people are dying. People are in jail for marijuana … charges. We are in a war that we should not be in in the first place, and TikTok is our most pressing concern?”

On the other side of the argument, @zaisgenuine states: “If I was y’all, I would not be trippin.” She says that a TikTok ban may be good for the country “because we need to start connecting with each other offline anyway, we need to start having conversations with strangers anyway, we need to start sharing wisdom and knowledge like we do on this app with other people in real-time.”

Since the bill has been approved by The House, Senate, and President Biden, other countries have started thinking about banning TikTok as well. 

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, was asked about the TikTok ban and whether Canada would follow in the footsteps of America if the ban went through. He responded by saying, “we’ve already taken significant measures on that, and we will continue to act in ways that are right for Canadians.” Although Trudeau did not specify whether or not Canada would follow suit of America, he did slightly hint at a ban if necessary for the protection of Canadian citizens. 

Overall, the ban on TikTok is slowly being implemented. The earliest it could be banned is around 270 days from April 24 if it hasn’t been sold to an American buyer. However, court challenges may stretch the case out longer than anticipated, maybe even years longer. According to an article by Time Magazine, if TikTok were banned, it would not disappear from people’s phones; rather, it would disappear from the App Store. With no way of updating the app, it would slowly become unusable.

Accounting for the time it takes for the app to become unusable, the 270-day wait for a buyer, and possible court holdups, the ban will not go into effect quickly—and this is assuming it is not sold to an American buyer. 

Student Opinions and Our Responses:

Peyton W. ‘26 shared why we should be worried about the TikTok ban. 

“I have heard of it. I think it is a little stupid. I understand where they are coming from; the Chinese are stealing our information, and that’s like the “concern” of the government. I have also seen a lot of stuff about how TikTok helps small businesses and makes money from it. So it’s also an economic struggle.”

Our Response: It’s very true that TikTok does support smaller businesses. According to TikTok’s data from March 2024, more than seven million small businesses in the U.S. utilize TikTok for advertisement and sales. The company reported that it “drove $ 15 billion (£12.04bn) in revenue for these enterprises in 2023.” 

Miranda H. ‘26 says that TikTok “brings a lot of people together … think about the number of people who have gone viral, and their lives have changed.”

Our Response: Although TikTok is being portrayed in a negative light and has the potential to act in negative ways, as predicted by the U.S. Government, TikTok is a place of community.

Other Resources on the Ban:





Cassie Ball ‘26 and Fiona Miller ‘26, the authors, are staff writers for The Grace Gazette.