US Senate Passes Tiktok Banning Bill

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that would mandate ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to sell its U.S. operations within approximately nine months to avert a ban, with President Joe Biden set to sign the legislation into law on Wednesday.

The move, fueled by concerns about potential Chinese access to American data through the app, was approved by a large margin in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, while one of the Senates emphasized the necessity of forcing the Chinese owner to divest the popular app for the benefit of national security.

TikTok affirms that it has not and will not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government. The company argues that the legislation could impede the free speech rights of its American users.

Meanwhile, despite plans from Tiktok to challenge the bill in court, experts believe the new law will offer the Biden administration stronger legal grounds to impose a ban on TikTok should ByteDance fail to comply with the divestment requirement.

In addition, the legislation will enable the White House to restrict or facilitate the sale of other foreign-owned apps deemed as security risks, providing a new framework for addressing national security concerns in the digital realm.

The bill gives ByteDance 270 days to divest TikTok, with the possibility of a three-month extension.