San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU students share mixed feelings about proposed TikTok ban

The U.S. Congress aims to ban the popular social media platform unless it’s acquired by an American-approved company
Bella Hodges
Illustration by Bella Hodges

On March 13, the U.S. Congress voted to ban TikTok if its China-based company, ByteDance, doesn’t sell the app to an owner who satisfies the U.S. government. 

During a live hearing, U.S. officials agreed that TikTok poses a national security risk. Two-thirds of the legislation was in favor of the bill being passed. 

A few days prior, President Joe Biden expressed his plan to endorse the legislation. When reporters questioned him about the bill, Biden said “If they pass it, I’ll sign it.” 

The Senate also needs to pass the bill in order for it to become law, and many Senator lawmakers have indicated that the bill will undergo intense scrutiny prior to voting on it. 

If the bill were to pass in the Senate, the ban would not go into effect immediately. ByteDance would have six months to find an approved buyer for the app. 

If ByteDance does not sell the app within this period, U.S. app stores and internet service providers will no longer be allowed to offer the app for download or updates. 

However, it is likely that if the bill were to pass, ByteDance would challenge the legality of the bill, delaying the ban even further. 

  San Diego State University students shared their thoughts on one of Generation Z’s most commonly used apps. 

Diego Delgadillo, a fourth-year journalism student, has his own comedy podcast and frequently shares content on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. He shared that artists on social media are due for a new medium. 

“The real creatives and the people who are pushing to make art are going to do it no matter where the outlet is,” Delgadillo said. “So if TikTok is gone, there will be something else that is going to replace it.”

Delgadillo also mentioned that some people have just “skated by” because of the format and algorithm, so he thinks it’s good to “weed” out those who aren’t genuinely creative. 

“I hate the way TikTok has fried our brains to have to rely on art to be served a certain way,” he said. 

However, other students mentioned that they think the ban is a way for the U.S. to control the young generation and keep foreign powers at bay. 

“It’s a very large thing to unpack,” said Sonor Liotta, a first-year marketing student. “At the base level, it’s xenophobia because America has never had good relations with China and also the American people always have propaganda against China.” 

Liotta also said that on a deeper level, it’s a “power structure issue” because he thinks that a foreign power has the ability to get young people “riled up.” 

During congressional hearings in March 2023, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the Chinese government does not have a direct relation with TikTok. 

“We do not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government,” Chew said. “We do not collect body, face or voice data to identify our users.”

However, after Chew’s statement, Chair ​​Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the committee questioned the truth of his statements. 

Rodgers pointed out that Chew had direct contact with affiliates of the Chinese Communist Party, which he confirmed to be true.

Some students, like Greta Houge, a first-year engineering student,  believe that it would be more beneficial for the U.S. government to focus on other national issues. 

“I think it’s kind of stupid. TikTok is for entertainment, and it’s not the most important issue for them to be worrying about,” Houge said. 

Some users even protested outside the White House, urging the government not to go through with the bill. 

Despite the voices of everyday users and influencers who benefit from the app, the stance of the U.S. government remains firm.

About the Contributor
Michelle Armas
Michelle Armas, Staff Writer
Michelle Armas is a Journalism major with a love for storytelling. She was born in Los Angeles, California, but moved to San Diego when she was 10. She is a News, Arts & Culture, and Opinions writer for The Daily Aztec and enjoys every moment of debuting as a journalist. She is part of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves as the secretary of The National Association of Hispanic Journalists on campus. In the academic year of 2022/23, she co-hosted a radio talk show with two other students where they talked about current events and played their favorite music. With her deep curiosity for the world, Michelle hopes to combine different forms of media to share obscure stories of the world creatively.