Joe Biden supports bill to ban TikTok in the U.S.

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Joe Biden supports bill to ban TikTok in the U.S.

Joe Biden said he would sign legislation banning TikTok in the U.S.

The House of Representatives will vote this week on a legislation giving TikTok’s owner, China’s ByteDance, six months to divest the app. If ByteDance doesn’t comply, TikTok might face a complete ban in the U.S., affecting its 150 million users.

When asked by reporters to comment on the vote, President Biden said: “If they pass it, I’ll sign it.”

Why we care. A U.S. ban on TikTok would significantly impact advertisers, especially those targeting Gen Z. This demographic favors TikTok over platforms like Google, making it a crucial channel for advertisers seeking to reach this audience.

Next steps. While the White House offered technical support in drafting the bill, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned earlier this week that the TikTok legislation “still needs some work” before reaching a point where President Biden would endorse it.

Legislation proposals. The proposed bill adopts a dual strategy. Initially, TikTok’s owner ByteDance will be forced to divest the platform within 180 days of the bill’s enactment; failure to do so will result in its prohibition in the U.S.. Additionally, the bill sets up a clear procedure, giving the executive branch the power to limit access to apps owned by foreign eadversaries, especially if they pose a national security threat.

Security concerns. The vote is being held to address concerns related to national security surrounding TikTok’s ownership. The app is owned by ByteDance, which is based in Beijing and therefore falls under China’s controversial cybersecurity laws. These laws, among other things, contain provisions that could potentially require TikTok to hand over U.S. user data to the Chinese Communist Party upon request.

White House ban. Amid security concerns, President Biden banned almost four million federal government employee from using TikTok on government devices. However, those same concerns didn’t stop the president from joining the platform to promote his re-election campaign last month.

What TikTok is saying. TikTok accused U.S. Senators of staging a “predetermined” vote to ban the platform in the U.S. The platform said in a statement:

  • “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States. The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”
  • “This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

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Deep dive. Read TikTok’s statement in full for more information.

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