TikTok Ban Bill Passes Senate, Set To Be Signed By Biden

A bill aimed at getting TikTok banned in the United States passed the Senate on Tuesday night. The bill gives TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance an option to sell its stake within nine months or face the app getting blocked in America.

The bill passed in the Senate days after it was approved in the House of Representatives on Saturday. It is now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk, where it will meet success, as Biden has promised to sign it into law once it gets to his desk.

The TikTok ban bill, which was passed as a part of a package of four bills including aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and other U.S. allies in the Indo Pacific region, had the support of many senators. Seventy-nine had voted in favor while 18 had opposed it.

The legislation comes as a solution to national security concerns among U.S. lawmakers, as there are fears that China could access data belonging to Americans or surveil them with the app. There are also concerns that the platform could be used to spread propaganda.

While TikTok has not commented on the latest move to force its sale or ban it, ByteDance has said in the past that it would be opposing the move.

The social media company said last week that the bill would “trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate seven million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the US economy, annually.”

ByteDance has denied being a Chinese firm, as it notes that 60% of it is owned by global investment firms. TikTok itself has also said that the company “is not an agent of China or any other country.”

China has also vowed to not approve any deal as part of TikTok’s sale, a step that is required if the U.S. successfully forces ByteDance to sell the social media app.

If ByteDance refuses to sell the app, it might take years for the app to get blocked in the U.S., as the Chinese company would take different legal action which would delay the process.

Action against the platform could also be delayed if a buyer for ByteDance’s stake in the platform is not found within the nine-month period given in the bill.