Clock starts ticking as possible TikTok ban looms in the US

  • US lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favour of a bill which would force ByteDance to sell TikTok or see the app banned in the US.
  • Should the bill pass, ByteDance would have six months to sell the app.
  • TikTok CEO Shou Chew said it would continue fighting to keep TikTok alive for its 17 million US users.

On Wednesday the House of Representatives in the US passed a bill that could ultimately see access to TikTok banned in the US.

This comes after what has been a years-long battle against ByteDance which owns TikTok. The US government is concerned that because ByteDance is a Chinese firm, it may be beholden to the Chinese government should it come knocking at ByteDance’s door, requesting assistance in intelligence gathering.

“We have given TikTok a clear choice,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, was quoted as saying by AP News. “Separate from your parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party), and remain operational in the United States, or side with the CCP and face the consequences. The choice is TikTok’s.”

The bill passed through the House with a vote of 352 for and 65 against. It now moves to the Senate and if passed into law, ByteDance would have six months to sell TikTok off or face a ban.

This potential ban comes despite TikTok kowtowing to many demands made by US lawmakers. The platform even moved data for US citizens over to infrastructure located in the US, something that as far as we can tell, hasn’t been done for any other nation.

TikTok’s chief executive officer Shou Zi Chew has demonstrated an immense amount of restraint when being questioned by US lawmakers who often showcase an inability to read a map.

On the back of the news from the House, Chew took to TikTok to highlight how bad the bill would be not only for TikTok but other platforms as well.

Since word that this bill might pass came down the line, TikTok has rallied its users to contact senators and representatives to voice their displeasure with the proposed law. This reportedly backfired and increased the concerns of lawmakers.

Throughout this process, the US has argued that it doesn’t want to ban TikTok but, as Nancy Pelosi put it, “this is not an attempt to ban TikTok, it’s an attempt to make TikTok better. Tic-tac-toe. A winner.”


Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke Wednesday in favor of a bill that could lead to TikTok being barred in the U.S. unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, divests from the popular social media app. “This is not an attempt to ban TikTok. It’s an attempt to make TikTok better,” she said ahead of the vote. The bill, which later passed in a bipartisan 352–65 vote, would force ByteDance to divest from the app within six months in order for it to remain available in the United States. App store owners like Apple and Google and internet-hosting companies would be prohibited from supporting the app. #nancypelosi #pelosi #tiktok #houseofrepresentatives #congress #cspan

♬ original sound – C-SPAN

We’d challenge that though as asking ByteDance to sell off one of, if not its most, valuable asset or face a ban is a strong-arm tactic. It would be like the Chinese government taking issue with Apple and claiming it has undue influence on the smartphone market and telling Apple that it either needs to sell the iPhone brand to a Chinese company or face a ban in the nation.

As mentioned, there are fears that this bill could be used to strong-arm other social networks including those owned by Meta and Elon Musk.

With over 17 million users, the US is a massive market for TikTok. Aside from the millions of users, creators from the US have a massive amount of influence on the trends that shape TikTok globally.

How ByteDance will navigate this situation is unclear but we’d be shocked to learn it plans to sell TikTok as that seems like a no-go from our perspective.

The next six months sure are going to be interesting.


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