Will America ban TikTok?

The social media controversy, explained

Deleting TikTok
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

The popular social media app TikTok might be best known as a platform for viral dance crazes and other silly videos. But U.S. officials are worried it could also be used in ways that harm national security. A number of states, including Maryland, South Dakota and Texas, have already blocked the app from government devices, and Montana just issued the country's first full-fledged ban.

In November, Brendan Carr, an FCC commissioner, called for the federal government to cancel TikTok, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill to do just that. More recently, the White House demanded the app's Chinese owners divest their stake in the platform or risk a nationwide ban.

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Devika Rao, The Week US

 Devika Rao has worked as a staff writer at The Week since 2022, covering science, the environment, climate and business. She previously worked as a policy associate for a nonprofit organization advocating for environmental action from a business perspective.