Will We Lose the Infinite Scroll?

U.S. Government threatens to ban TikTok


Maroon Staff

TikTok is currently on trial as US government officials consider whether to ban the popular social media platform.

Jennifer Schwartz

TikTok: the app many of us are addicted to. The app we go to when we’re down. The app that fills our time when we’re bored. The app that has brought us together and split us apart. The app we might lose.

In 2020, the Trump Administration threatened to ban TikTok in the US. Now, two and a half years later, the Biden Administration has revived the issue, bringing TikTok to trial as officials once again consider whether the popular app should be banned. 

“Why?” you may ask. The main reason for the possible ban is that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. This alone isn’t a problem, but the issue is that the company may be subjected to Chinese Communist Party laws. This has raised national security concerns, as Chinese laws may be forcing ByteDance to give users’ personal data to the Chinese government for spying purposes. Additionally, many officials fear that the Chinese government is using its power over ByteDance to spread Chinese propaganda through the seemingly innocent TikTok videos. With TikTok having about 150 million active users in the United States, concerns about user safety are amplified to another level.

Incredibly, TikTok is banned in China itself, with a domestic version called Douyin, also owned by ByteDance, being available for Chinese citizens.

Incredibly, TikTok is banned in China itself, with a domestic version called Douyin, also owned by ByteDance, being available for Chinese citizens. At first glance, Douyin may seem exactly like TikTok, the version the rest of the world uses; however, upon further inspection, it is evident that the content shown on Douyin is quite different from that of TikTok. While Douyin users are exposed to inspirational, educational, and patriotic videos, TikTok users are often shown strange viral trends and foolish pranks. Douyin has also applied protective measures to limit users’ time spent on the app, especially for children and teens. 

Even so, TikTok has such a significant impact on many as, besides being used for silly dances with friends, the app is also used to share news, promote businesses, and more. Additionally, unlike many other social media platforms that target teens, the app’s users range from young children to grandparents, with almost everyone finding entertainment on their For You Pages as the algorithm assimilates to match their humor and interests.

So, how likely is it that TikTok will get banned in the US? Although TikTok has already been banned on US government-owned devices and is restricted in several nations such as India, where a TikTok ban has already been in place for three years, many doubt that there will be a total TikTok ban in the United States any time soon. They argue that, for TikTok to be banned, the government would have to violate the First Amendment, which protects Americans’ right to speak freely, which TikTok gives many the ability to do.

Even if TikTok were to get banned, other social media platforms, including Instagram and Youtube, after seeing the success of TikTok, have created practically identical versions of the infinite scrolling video format.

In short, if you, too, are a TikTok addict, there is no need to go to bed late, trying to get as many TikToks in before you lose access to the beloved app. On the off chance that there is a ban, the popular (and addictive) video format will surely not be lost forever.