TechDigits

Tech news
Friday, Mar 31, 2023

Wh​y India​ banned​ TikTok​ — and what the US can learn from it,​ as pressure mounts for Biden to follow suit

Wh​y India​ banned​ TikTok​ — and what the US can learn from it,​ as pressure mounts for Biden to follow suit

India ban​ned TikTok​, majorly boosting Meta ​&​ YouTube ​and sending shockwaves across its tech sector.​​ Here's what the US can learn from the move.

It hardly seems possible that TikTok could be banned in the United States. But it's getting likelier by the day.

Mark Mahaney, the respected internet analyst with Evercore ISI, told Insider that while TikTok doesn't have a "greater than 50% chance of getting banned" in the US, the percentage has risen in the past six months as scrutiny has deepened over the app's ties to ByteDance, its China-based owner.

And American regulators have one big thing they can point to in seeking that dramatic action. In a recent interview with The Economic Times, an Indian newspaper, Brendan Carr, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, described India's ban on TikTok as an "incredibly important precedent" and a "guide star" for other countries.


Why did India ban TikTok?


In 2020, after a geopolitical dispute with China, India banned the app entirely, citing a law that allows the government to block websites and apps in the interest of the country's "sovereignty and integrity."

Mark Shmulik, a Bernstein analyst, said that as political pressure builds for the US to follow suit, India's actions are "a useful proxy" because its a huge market similar to the US that has banned "an app that's at the top of its popularity."

What we learned from the India situation, the analysts say, is that banning TikTok would likely be a huge boon to rivals like Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat — but it would also complicate doing business internationally.


What happened when India banned TikTok


In the summer of 2020, India banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat, Weibo, and QQ, an instant-messaging service owned by the internet giant Tencent. At the time, TikTok had nearly 200 million users in India and considered the country its biggest market outside of the US.

Analysts at Bernstein wrote in a note to clients that the ban on TikTok didn't slow down the adoption of short-form video content on social media and gave more market share to competitors like Snapchat, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. It also gave way for the rise of several homegrown Indian apps.

"Instagram was the biggest beneficiary of the ban," the Bernstein analysts wrote. "Since India is a prime market for the major internet players with plenty of monetization potential, Meta and Google have been capitalizing on the void left by TikTok."

At the time of the ban, business experts told Insider that it had consequences for Indian citizens employed by the apps as engineers, customer-service agents, supervisors, and salespeople.

Those experts have also suggested that India's decision to impose such a sweeping ban on apps owned by businesses in another country could scare away international investment in the country's fast-growing tech sector. After all, they said, the government has proved its power to remove access to apps without much recourse.

"The decision to ban was taken way too quickly without considering the impact that it would have," Amit Jangir, a cofounder of Karbon Card, a fintech startup based in Shanghai, told Insider in 2020. "I'm afraid that a lot of overseas investors will now be reluctant or hesitant given that policy changes can be so drastic."

While the situation wouldn't be exactly the same, the US might face these questions if it decides to ban TikTok.


Will the US ban TikTok?


It's unclear how many users TikTok has in the US. In September 2021, TikTok said it had 1 billion active global users, and it's since grown in popularity.

State governments across the US have banned the use of TikTok on government devices, and the federal government recently banned it on all federally owned devices, citing fears that Chinese authorities could access sensitive information via the app. Some Wall Street analysts think corporations will ban TikTok on company-owned devices, if they haven't already.

Carr and others calling for the US to ban TikTok entirely have suggested that the only way to solve the national security issue raised by the app is through a so-called blanket ban. Carr is, notably, the senior Republican on the FCC, so his views don't necessarily reflect those of President Joe Biden or his administration.

Several analysts have argued that since TikTok is hugely popular with young voters, who tend to skew Democratic, the Biden administration likely wouldn't want to risk losing them by pursuing a ban.

But analysts also believe that the situation could change dramatically depending on the state of the US's relationship with China.

"At some level it's very linked to US-Chinese government relations," Mahaney said. "So if that continues to deteriorate, I can't imagine that that that doesn't increase the odds of some sort of TikTok ban."

Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
Close
0:00
0:00
China and Brazil have signed a new deal that will allow them to trade in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
A brief banking situation report
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…
China's top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, and JD.com, are developing their own versions of Open AI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT
This shocking picture, showing how terrible is the results of the earthquake in Turkey
The desk of King Carlos Alberto of Sardinia has many secret compartments
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Solar + Powerwall ensures you never lose power, even if the grid goes down
This man paid for strangers' grocery and it moved them to tears
Meta introduces a new version of Mark Zuckerberg
Virtual Reality on billboards: BMW advertisement on Times Square
Apple CEO Tim Cook says coding should be taught as early as elementary school: 'It's the most important language you can learn'
Apple Executive Resigns After Viral TikTok Shows Him Making Crude Jokes
Huawei is not only better technology, but also protecting users better: Apple Warns Of Security Flaw For Iphones, Ipads And Macs
Mark Zuckerberg warns many teams will ‘shrink’ as Meta revenue drops
Elon Musk reportedly begged for forgiveness after his affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife
×