Tik Tok Privacy, National Security and Small Business Economic Interests

On March 13, 2024, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban TikTok if the app’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, does not divest its U.S. assets within six months. The bill received bipartisan support and now goes to the Senate for further consideration. Lawmakers have raised concerns that under Chinese law, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has the power to access U.S. TikTok user data whenever it wants. TikTok has denied that it has shared or would share U.S. TikTok user data with the Chinese government, yet U.S. lawmakers are appropriately skeptical given Chinese national security laws that require businesses to cooperate with intelligence gathering efforts. Although the bill passed with wide bipartisan support in the House, public support for a TikTok ban is low. Approximately 170 million Americans use the video app, including many small businesses and content creators who use TikTok to reach potential customers and generate revenue. Since March 13, TikTok users, small businesses, and content creators have lobbied their representatives in Congress to oppose the bill.

The current effort to ban the popular video app in the U.S. is not the first. In 2020, federal courts blocked former President Donald Trump’s effort to ban the app, and the federal courts struck down Montana’s TikTok ban when the company sued.

Lutzker & Lutzker will continue to provide updates on the Congressional balancing act between constituents’ economic and privacy interests and broader national security concerns.