Tech News

President Biden Signs Bill That Could Ban TikTok

President Joe Biden signed a bill on Wednesday that could ban TikTok from operating within the United States as early as next year.

After years of trying, the US House of Representatives and the Senate managed to pass a measure that would force TikTok to divest from ByteDance, its Chinese owner, within a year, or face a ban nationwide. The bill was part of a larger foreign aid package providing assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, making it difficult for some lawmakers to vote against it. Aid to Ukraine has been a key part of Biden’s agenda since Russia invaded in 2022, and last week he publicly endorsed the aid package.

Notably, Biden’s Tuesday night statement responding to the Senate vote did not mention TikTok at all, instead opting to highlight the $95 billion in foreign aid included in the bill.

“Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership: We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression,” Biden said.

“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 US data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.”

The company’s, CEO Shou Zi Chew, published a TikTok on Wednesday calling the bill a ban.

“Congress passed a bill that the president signed into law that is designed to ban TikTok in the United States,” Chew said. “Make no mistake, this is a ban. A ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice.”

The Chinese government has previously indicated that it would not approve a sale, and has placed export controls on the company’s algorithm.