Biden Signs Bill That Could Ban TikTok

biden signs tiktok ban bill

Joe Biden signed legislation on Wednesday that would force the Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok or incur an outright ban on the social media app within the United States. 

Late Tuesday night, the Senate passed a foreign aid package containing the proposed TikTok legislation in a 79 to 18 vote. Biden had previously committed to signing the bill into law should it reach his desk. The drastic move gives ByteDance 270 days to sell the app — which boasts over 170 million American users — or be blocked from app stores and web-hosting services. The legislation would also create a process through which the president can designate other social media applications with ties to foreign governments as a national security risk and force divestment. 

Lawmakers have long argued that the Chinese government can use ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok to exploit American user data. Wednesday’s new law is by no means the federal government’s first attempt at restricting the use of the app.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, a spokesperson for TikTok wrote that “this unconstitutional law is a TikTok ban, and we will challenge it in court.” 

“We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail. The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep U.S. data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation,” they added. “This ban would devastate 7 million businesses and silence 170 million Americans. As we continue to challenge this unconstitutional ban, we will continue investing and innovating to ensure TikTok remains a space where Americans of all walks of life can safely come to share their experiences, find joy, and be inspired.” 

In a memo to staff obtained by The Associated Press, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, Michael Beckerman, wrote that “at the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge.

“This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,” he wrote.  

In direct response to the proposed bill, TikTok launched a tool last month to connect users with their congressional offices. “Congress is planning a total ban of TikTok,” the landing page said. “Speak up now — before your government strips 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”       

As a result, lawmakers’ offices were inundated with phone calls, many from teenagers furious that their favorite app might be banned. One House Republican aide described the experience to Rolling Stone as a “nonstop” barrage of phone calls and messages this week from “shrieking teens” demanding that lawmakers pull the anti-TikTok bill. The bill passed the House, but stalled in the Senate — but the new version of the bill, tied to the foreign aid package, drew more support.


The social media company has also attempted to assuage the concerns raised by lawmakers by partnering with tech giant Oracle, announcing in March 2022 that the company had taken over  the app’s domestic storage of user data. 

It was clearly not enough, and now TikTok will likely be forced to battle out its future in court.

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