TikTokers speculate that Meta was involved in a possible TikTok ban

TikTokers, worried about the app’s possible ban in the United States, have decided who they think is to blame. And it’s not President Joe Biden, Congress, Republicans, or even China.

It’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Last night the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok if the company’s Chinese owners don’t divest their holdings. Both the White House and the Treasury Department declined to comment on the news New York Times. The alleged threat comes after weeks of pushing the app. Last week, a bipartisan group in the Senate unveiled a plan to help the government force a TikTok sale. The White House immediately backed the law.

While the TikTok debate in Washington has largely revolved around national security and the privacy of American data, TikTokers appear to believe there is a bigger ruse β€” one orchestrated by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

“I think we’ve all come to the same conclusion by now, this whole TikTok ban has nothing to do with our security and anything meta can’t beat them,” Fiona Williams said in a video. “But what I don’t understand is where Mark was [Zuckerberg] thinks we’d lose TikTok and flock to Instagram, or God forbid Facebook.”

There’s no evidence Meta was behind the recent bills, the US decision to order China’s exit from the app, or the myriad government efforts to block the app. But many TikTokers cited those The Washington Post report last year that Meta hired a GOP consulting firm to turn opinion against TikTok to deflect political ire from Meta.

TikToker used the Post Reporting creating narratives proving that Meta “paid” to start the effort to ban TikTok and that it owns the politicians pushing it forward.

@liv_inla ♬ original sound – Olivia Victoria πŸ¦‹

Imani Barbarin, @crutches_and_spice on TikTok, said it was “extremely easy to tell” that Meta was behind the bills, but that a successful attempt still wouldn’t persuade people to return to their platforms.

“I don’t think people realize that nobody wants to run back to meta,” she said. “Like people aren’t screaming [Instagram] Roll.”

Users in the comments said they deleted their Instagram or Facebook pages and encouraged others to do the same.

“I deleted my FB. Everyone has to do it,” read one comment.

“I’d rather be offline than use meta πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚,” said another.

“If this app goes away I’ll probably be back on Reddit/tumblr not any meta app,” wrote one user.

Meta did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.

Alex Pearlman, @pearlmania500 on TikTok, said he believes due to the proposed TikTok ban, Instagram and Facebook will also end the program that allowed creators to monetize viral reels.

“They feel like they’ve been successful enough in pushing Congress that Congress will ban TikTok,” he said in a video. “But everything they say is dangerous about TikTok is totally true on Instagram and Facebook.”

The US was on the verge of a TikTok ban before. The Trump administration approved a deal between Walmart, software company Oracle and TikTok that would have owned 20% of the app in the US

The deal fell through, but a similar agreement could emerge in the coming weeks as TikTok looks to work with lawmakers and US companies to avoid a ban.

Earlier this month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed legislation that would allow President Joe Biden to ban TikTok. Digital rights groups condemned the decision, saying the move was an attempt to get Biden to ban the app.

It’s all part of a mounting backlash against Chinese ownership of TikTok.

Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom recently banned all TikTok from government devices over privacy concerns. Many states in the US have done the same. In February, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) sent a memo to Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and chair of the United States Committee on Foreign Investments (CFIUS), urging that Panel to complete a review of TikTok’s national security concerns that has been going on for years.

“We are demanding immediate action from CFIUS to protect consumers and our national security by completing ongoing investigations and imposing strict remedial measures to disconnect ByteDance from American users of TikTok,” Blumenthal said in the letter.

The company says it has already made efforts to protect American data and appease lawmakers. Nicknamed Project Texas, the plan emerged during confidential talks between CFIUS and TikTok and would see TikTok remain owned by ByteDance but store all of its US user data in the states and allow the US government to oversee the platform.

TikTok met with think tanks and public stakeholders earlier this year to brief them on the plan. The project would reportedly cost $1.5 billion to set up and up to $1 billion a year.

However, Project Texas was recently criticized by a whistleblower.

The future of TikTok in the US has yet to be determined. Votes on the two bills that would allow the government to ban the app or force a sale have yet to be scheduled, and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month.


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*Initial publication: March 16, 2023 1:47 pm CDT

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

Jacob Seitz

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/tiktokers-speculate-meta-tiktok-ban/ TikTokers speculate that Meta was involved in a possible TikTok ban

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