President Biden signs TikTok ban bill into law from Mashable

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Update: On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed the bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. if ByteDance fails to divest the app within a year.

Original story:

The U.S. TikTok ban has just passed the Senate, meaning it’s just one presidential signature away from becoming law. Considering President Joe Biden has previously said he would sign the bill, it now seems practically guaranteed that the TikTok ban will actually go ahead.

Seventy-nine U.S. senators approved of the TikTok ban, eclipsing the 18 who voted against it. The bill had passed the House of Representatives on Saturday, bundled with aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. It was the second time a TikTok ban had passed the House in as many months, with the previous bill having stalled at the Senate.


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In addition to being bundled with foreign aid, the new bill made a few changes to the timeline for that ban’s enforcement. Instead of having to sell TikTok within six months, Chinese parent company ByteDance will have nine months to divest from it. The President is also able to add one 90-day extension to that deadline, stretching it to a year.

If ByteDance does not sell the video sharing platform by then — and specifically to a company that the U.S. government does not believe is controlled by a “foreign adversary” — TikTok will be forced to exit the U.S. entirely. That means no more dance challenges, no more “get ready with me” story times, and no more industrial grade glycine from Donghua Jinlong.

TikTok likely to challenge U.S. ban in court


Credit: Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s unlikely that TikTok will go without a fight. Responding to the earlier bill last month, CEO Shou Zi Chew hinted that the company may take legal action to defend itself against the ban. TikTok previously fended off a Montana ban in December, with a judge finding it unconstitutional on the grounds that it restricted free speech and imposed an extrajudicial punishment on the company.

“We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform we have built with you,” Chew said last month.

TikTok’s intention to take the matter to court was further confirmed this week in an internal memo from Michael Beckerman, the company’s public policy head in America. The Information reported that Beckerman issued the memo after the House of Representatives passed the ban on Saturday.

“At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” Beckerman wrote. “We’ll continue to fight, as this legislation is a clear violation of the first amendment rights of the 170 million Americans on TikTok.”

Mashable has reached out to TikTok for comment.

TikTok has 170 million U.S. users, a number that even includes President Biden, and employed almost 7000 people in the U.S. as of March last year. They’re not the only ones whose livelihood may be impacted by a U.S. TikTok ban, though. A study commissioned by TikTok found that the app supported 224,000 jobs in 2023, and contributed $24.2 billion to the U.S. GDP.

A U.S. TikTok ban may have further implications for free speech


Credit: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

U.S. politicians have attempted to justify the TikTok ban by claiming it is a security concern, accusing the Chinese government of spying on users and manipulating the algorithm to show content sympathetic to China. Though there’s no evidence of this happening, fear of this hypothetical has fuelled much of the push for a TikTok ban.

Some senators have even blamed TikTok for the swell of support for Palestine among young people, believing the cause has been promoted by China with the intention of causing division in the U.S.

“Let’s look at where young people are getting their news,” said Senator Pete Ricketts, criticising pro-Palestinian sentiments. “The Chinese Communist Party is doing this on purpose. They are pushing this racist agenda with the intention of undermining our democratic values. And if you look at what’s happening at the Columbia University and other campuses across the country right now, they’re winning.”

Students at Columbia University, Yale, New York University, and others have been staging large protests in support of Palestine, calling for a permanent ceasefire, the end to military aid for Israel, and for these institutions to divest from companies that are profiting from the conflict in Gaza.

People on social media across the political spectrum have been less than thrilled with the news of the TikTok ban. Several have criticised it as an attack on free speech, noting that lawmakers have explicitly stated that their intention is to prevent the spread of content which is sympathetic to China or Palestine. Some have also expressed concern that a ban on TikTok could set a dangerous precedent which may enable bans on other social media platforms as well.


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The TikTok ban will now be sent to President Biden to be signed into law. If you have any favourite videos that you like to rewatch, now would be the time to download them.

The post President Biden signs TikTok ban bill into law from Mashable appeared first on Tom Bettenhausen’s.

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