In the heat of U.S.-China tensions and information security concerns, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday advanced a bill which would allow President Joe Biden to ban Chinese video-sharing app TikTok. This comes after other nations including Canada, Japan, and India have introduced their own restrictions on the app. Let’s see what this could mean for Taiwan.
Countless videos from the popular Chinese app TikTok have gone viral around the world. But a lurking online security crisis behind the scenes has more and more countries on the alert. On Wednesday, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to grant President Joe Biden authorization to ban TikTok, with a result of 24 for and 16 against. The bill is expected to be sent to the full House for another vote this month. Meanwhile, the White House has ordered all federal agencies to remove TikTok from their devices within 30 days.
White House press secretary
We have been clear about our concerns about apps like TikTok, and certainly our concerns with countries including China as they seek to lever digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that can present harm and risk to our national security clearly.
House Foreign Affairs Committee
We are living through one of the most dangerous periods in American foreign policy in a generation.
Already, 20 U.S. state governments have announced TikTok bans. As for other parts of the world, Canada banned the app on government devices starting March 1, while Japan and the EU have also long banned TikTok on work devices. Australia has a ban within internal affairs and defense departments, and India has passed legislation for a complete TikTok ban.
In recent years, China has been more active in international public opinion and the online world. They are constantly doing all sorts of manipulation, and their manipulation is getting more and more sophisticated, and more and more influential.
Taiwan currently bans TikTok in the Executive Yuan and its departments for information security reasons. But as more countries bring down the ban hammer, many are discussing whether Taiwan’s TikTok restrictions should be expanded.
It is very difficult to control this kind of social media in the international arena. So think tanks have not yet conducted very good studies on the necessity of controlling them.
Although as a social media app, a complete TikTok ban would be difficult, officials can and should educate the public on countering China’s information war.