The United States TikTok Ban and Its Implications for Legal Professionals

What should US legal and eDiscovery professionals anticipate as a result of a potential TikTok ban and how to get ahead of the possible ban

Last Updated March 2024

As the U.S. government deliberates over the national security concerns associated with TikTok, legal professionals across the country are keenly observing the unfolding situation. The potential ban on the popular social media platform not only raises questions about data privacy and cybersecurity but also significantly impacts the landscape of digital evidence and eDiscovery as a whole.

Current Status of the TikTok Ban (As of March 18, 2024)

The controversy surrounding TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, centers on U.S. fears that the data collected by the app could be accessed by the Chinese government, posing a threat to national security. In response, the U.S. government has been considering a range of actions, from outright banning the app to forcing a divestiture of its U.S. operations to an American company.

As of now, the situation remains fluid, with negotiations and legal challenges creating an uncertain future for TikTok in the U.S. The administration has hinted at a potential ban as a measure to protect national security, but no definitive action has been taken. This uncertainty leaves legal professionals in a precarious position, especially those who rely on social media content as evidence in their cases.

Implications for Legal and eDiscovery Professionals

The potential TikTok ban introduces several considerations for legal professionals in terms of online evidence collection:

Archiving Content Before It's Too Late: With the ban looming, it's imperative to archive relevant TikTok content that may serve as evidence in future cases. Tools like Page Vault can capture and preserve web content in a legally admissible format.

Exploring Alternative Platforms: As users migrate from TikTok to other platforms, legal professionals must expand their evidence collection strategies to include these new sources. Alternative social media platforms include: X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and more. Today, the Wayback Machine is an alternative route for viewing deleted TikTok posts, however it does not archive all TikTok posts and brings challenges related to legal admissibility.

Understanding International Jurisdictions: If TikTok remains operational outside the U.S., collecting evidence for cases with an international scope may require navigating the laws of jurisdictions where the app is still available.

Impending Free Speech Litigation: Adversaries of the potential ban argue that banning the app would be an infringement of users first amendment rights, as TikTok is used for advocacy, to freely express ideas, communicate with others, and share information. In November 2023, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy blocked the state ban of the app stating that it violated constitutional rights.

Monitoring the Situation

For legal professionals impacted by TikTok, staying informed is important. Here's how to keep abreast of the developments:

Follow Trusted News Outlets: Regularly check updates from reputable sources that cover technology, legal, and government news. 

Legal Analysis Blogs and Forums: Legal experts often share their insights on the implications of such bans in specialized forums and blogs. Subscribe to Page Vault’s blog for updates as we’re actively monitoring the changes

Government Announcements: Official government channels will provide the most direct updates on policy changes or legal actions concerning TikTok.

The potential TikTok ban in the U.S. presents both challenges and opportunities for legal professionals. By staying informed and flexible in their approach to online evidence collection, law practitioners can navigate the uncertainties of this issue. As the situation evolves, adapting strategies to meet the changing landscape will be crucial for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of legal proceedings.


Request a TikTok Preservation