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What a TikTok ban in the US could mean for you

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What a TikTok ban in the US could mean for you
News

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What a TikTok ban in the US could mean for you

2024-04-24 22:20 Last Updated At:22:31

No, TikTok will not suddenly disappear from your phone. Nor will you go to jail if you continue using it after it is banned.

After years of attempts to ban the Chinese-owned app, including by former President Donald Trump, a measure to outlaw the popular video-sharing app has won congressional approval and is on its way to President Biden for his signature. The measure gives Beijing-based parent company ByteDance nine months to sell the company, with a possible additional three months if a sale is in progress. If it doesn't, TikTok will be banned.

So what does this mean for you, a TikTok user, or perhaps the parent of a TikTok user? Here are some key questions and answers.

The original proposal gave ByteDance just six months to divest from its U.S. subsidiary, negotiations lengthened it to nine. Then, if the sale is already in progress, the company will get another three months to complete it.

So it would be at least a year before a ban goes into effect — but with likely court challenges, this could stretch even longer, perhaps years. TikTok has seen some success with court challenges in the past, but it has never sought to prevent federal legislation from going into effect.

TikTok, which is used by more than 170 million Americans, most likely won't disappear from your phone even if an eventual ban does take effect. But it would disappear from Apple and Google's app stores, which means users won't be able to download it. This would also mean that TikTok wouldn't be able to send updates, security patches and bug fixes, and over time the app would likely become unusable — not to mention a security risk.

Teenagers are known for circumventing parental controls and bans when it comes to social media, so dodging the U.S. government's ban is certainly not outside the realm of possibilities. For instance, users could try to mask their location using a VPN, or virtual private network, use alternative app stores or even install a foreign SIM card into their phone.

But some tech savvy is required, and it's not clear what will and won't work. More likely, users will migrate to another platform — such as Instagram, which has a TikTok-like feature called Reels, or YouTube, which has incorporated vertical short videos in its feed to try to compete with TikTok. Often, such videos are taken directly from TikTok itself. And popular creators are likely to be found on other platforms as well, so you'll probably be able to see the same stuff.

“The TikTok bill relies heavily on the control that Apple and Google maintain over their smartphone platforms because the bill’s primary mechanism is to direct Apple and Google to stop allowing the TikTok app on their respective app stores,” said Dean Ball, a research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. “Such a mechanism might be much less effective in the world envisioned by many advocates of antitrust and aggressive regulation against the large tech firms.”

Lawmakers from both parties — as well as law enforcement and intelligence officials — have long expressed concerns that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over data on the 170 million Americans who use TikTok. The worry stems from a set of Chinese national security laws that compel organizations to assist with intelligence gathering - which ByteDance would likely be subject to – and other far-reaching ways the country’s authoritarian government exercises control.

Data privacy experts say, though, that the Chinese government could easily get information on Americans in other ways, including through commercial data brokers that sell or rent personal information.

Lawmakers and some administration officials have also expressed concerns that China could - potentially – direct or influence ByteDance to suppress or boost TikTok content that are favorable to its interests. TikTok, for its part, has denied assertions that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government. The company has also said it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it’s asked.

FILE - The TikTok Inc. building is seen in Culver City, Calif., March 17, 2023. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, 2024, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

FILE - The TikTok Inc. building is seen in Culver City, Calif., March 17, 2023. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, 2024, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Jennifer Gay, a TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Jennifer Gay, a TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington, as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington, as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

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Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who skewered fast food industry, dies at 53

2024-05-24 23:38 Last Updated At:23:40

NEW YORK (AP) — Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, an Oscar nominee whose most famous works skewered America's food industry and who notably ate only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53.

Spurlock died Thursday in New York from complications of cancer, according to a statement issued Friday by his family.

“It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” Craig Spurlock, who worked with him on several projects, said in the statement. “Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man. I am so proud to have worked together with him.”

Spurlock made a splash in 2004 with his groundbreaking film “Super Size Me,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. The film chronicled the detrimental physical and psychological effects of Spurlock eating only McDonald’s food for 30 days. He gained about 25 pounds, saw a spike in his cholesterol and lost his sex drive.

“Everything’s bigger in America,” he said in the film. “We’ve got the biggest cars, the biggest houses, the biggest companies, the biggest food, and finally: the biggest people.”

In one scene, Spurlock showed kids a photo of George Washington and none recognized the Founding Father. But they all instantly knew the mascots for Wendy’s and McDonald’s.

The film grossed more than $22 million on a $65,000 budget and preceded the release of Eric Schlosser’s influential “Fast Food Nation,” which accused the industry of being bad for the environment and rife with labor issues.

Spurlock returned in 2019 with “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!” — a sober look at an industry that processes 9 billion animals a year in America. He focused on two issues: chicken farmers stuck in a peculiar financial system and the attempt by fast-food chains to deceive customers into thinking they’re eating healthier.

“We’re at an amazing moment in history from a consumer standpoint where consumers are starting to have more and more power,” he told The Associated Press in 2019. “It’s not about return for the shareholders. It’s about return for the consumers.”

Spurlock was a gonzo-like filmmaker who leaned into the bizarre and ridiculous. His stylistic touches included zippy graphics and amusing music, blending a Michael Moore-ish camera-in-your-face style with his own sense of humor and pathos.

“I wanted to be able to lean into the serious moments. I wanted to be able to breathe in the moments of levity. We want to give you permission to laugh in the places where it’s really hard to laugh,” he told the AP.

After he exposed the fast-food and chicken industries, there was an explosion in restaurants stressing freshness, artisanal methods, farm-to-table goodness and ethically sourced ingredients. But nutritionally not much had changed.

“There has been this massive shift and people say to me, ‘So has the food gotten healthier?’ And I say, ‘Well, the marketing sure has,’” he said.

Not all his work dealt with food. Spurlock made documentaries about the boy band One Direction and the geeks and fanboys at Comic-Con. One of his films looked at life behind bars at the Henrico County Jail in Virginia.

With 2008's “Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?” Spurlock went on a global search to find the al-Qaida leader, who was killed in 2011. In “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” Spurlock tackled questions of product placement, marketing and advertising.

“Being aware is half the battle, I think. Literally knowing all the time when you’re being marketed to is a great thing,” Spurlock told AP at the time. “A lot of people don’t realize it. They can’t see the forest for the trees."

“Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!” was to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 but it was shelved at the height of the #MeToo movement when Spurlock came forward to detail his own history of sexual misconduct.

He confessed that he had been accused of rape while in college and had settled a sexual harassment case with a female assistant. He also admitted to cheating on numerous partners. “I am part of the problem,” he wrote.

“For me, there was a moment of kind of realization — as somebody who is a truth-teller and somebody who has made it a point of trying to do what’s right — of recognizing that I could do better in my own life. We should be able to admit we were wrong,” he told the AP.

Spurlock grew up in Beckley, West Virginia. His mother was an English teacher who he remembered would correct his work with a red pen. He graduated with a BFA in film from New York University in 1993.

He is survived by two sons — Laken and Kallen; his mother Phyllis Spurlock; father Ben; brothers Craig and Barry; and former spouses Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, the mothers of his children.

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

FILE - Morgan Spurlock of the CNN series "Inside Man" poses at the CNN Worldwide All-Star Party, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Morgan Spurlock of the CNN series "Inside Man" poses at the CNN Worldwide All-Star Party, on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Director Morgan Spurlock from the film "Focus Forward" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge on Jan. 21, 2013 in Park City, Utah. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Director Morgan Spurlock from the film "Focus Forward" poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge on Jan. 21, 2013 in Park City, Utah. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock arrives at the premiere of "Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

FILE - Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock arrives at the premiere of "Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

FILE - Morgan Spurlock poses at the Los Angeles premiere of his film "Super Size Me," Thursday night, April 22, 2004, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

FILE - Morgan Spurlock poses at the Los Angeles premiere of his film "Super Size Me," Thursday night, April 22, 2004, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

FILE - Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock participate in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss the film, "Go North", at AOL Studios on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in New York. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock participate in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss the film, "Go North", at AOL Studios on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in New York. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made food and American diets his life’s work, famously eating only at McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast-food diet, has died. He was 53. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

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