College students around Philadelphia share opinions over potential TikTok ban

President Joe Biden said if the bill is passed, he'll sign it into law.

Briana Smith Image
Monday, April 22, 2024
College students around Philadelphia share opinions over potential TikTok ban
College students around Philadelphia share opinions over potential TikTok ban

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Congress is one vote closer to a nationwide ban on TikTok if the China-based owner doesn't sell the app.

The House passed legislation on Saturday and it moves to the Senate this week.

"I'm sad," said Macie Perry, a Drexel University student. "I'm really sad."

"I don't know that banning it is necessarily the right call," said Anya Draves, a University of Pennsylvania student.

"I'm from India, and it's already banned in India," said Aditya Ganapathiraju, another University of Pennsylvania student. "I think it's just a matter of time. I'm sure if it's banned, they have good reasons for it."

The TikTok legislation is different now compared to what it was months ago.

A standalone bill with a shorter, six-month selling deadline passed the House in March by an overwhelming bipartisan vote as Democrats and Republicans voiced national security concerns about the app's owner, the Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

This time around, lawmakers included TikTok in a $95 billion foreign aid package to help Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region.

The decision by House Republicans to include TikTok as part of a larger foreign aid package, a priority for President Joe Biden with broad congressional support for Ukraine and Israel, fast-tracked the ban after the earlier version had stalled in the Senate.

"I think that's horrible," said Draves. "I think it's manipulative and a really bad legislative tactic to group two things that are completely unrelated as a way of trying to sneakily get things passed."

WATCH | House votes for possible TikTok ban in US, but don't expect the app to go away anytime soon

The House passed legislation that would ban TikTok in the United States if the social media platform's owner doesn't sell its stake within a year.

"It feels like two completely different issues," said Emma Laragione, a Drexel University student. "It just feels kind of like underhanded for the government to group them together."

If the bill is signed into law, ByteDance would have roughly one year to find a U.S. buyer or the app will be banned nationwide.

This has earned bipartisan support amid security concerns involving China.

"I think there are a lot of ways people are gathering our data, and I don't know that it's necessarily going to solve that by banning that app," said Draves.

TikTok has lobbied hard against the legislation, pushing the app's 170 million U.S. users - many of whom are young - to call Congress and voice opposition.

"We will not stop fighting and advocating for you," TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video that was posted on the platform last month and directed toward the app's users. "We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you."

Some TikTok users in Philadelphia believe banning the app may not have such drastic consequences for those who use it.

"I'm pretty sure we could live life without it," said Ganapathiraju. "I'm pretty sad for the influencers who might use it and the hundreds of thousands of people who use it for some livelihood, but I'm pretty sure there will be other apps that will pop up."

President Biden said if the bill is passed, he'll sign it into law.

However, it could face legal challenges from ByteDance and users saying it violates First Amendment rights.