TikTok ban gets real in US as bill passes Senate — and Biden just signed it

(Image credit: Getty Images)

TikTok has walked an extremely rocky road in the United States recently. The government is working hard to ban the app. Just recently, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would force ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese parent company, to sell the app within a year or be banned in the U.S.

That same bill made its way to the Senate last night, and it was passed, bringing the potential TikTok ban one step closer to a reality. This isn't the government's first attempt to ban the popular social video sharing application, but it does appear to be the attempt with the best chance of success, as the bill was signed by Joe Biden on Wednesday morning.

The bill slated to force a TikTok sale is being presented as part of a package that would also provide aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. The Senate approved the measure 79 to 18, so opposition was minimal. By packing the bill with other high-priority foreign aid packages, the government was able to push the ban through faster.

Just minutes after the Senate approved the bill, the U.S. President released a statement saying he intends to sign the bill into law on Wednesday. "I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week," President Biden said in an official statement. As promised, the President signed the bill into law on April 24, 2024. 

Now that Biden signed the bill, ByteDance will have approximately nine months to sell the company or face a ban. President Biden does have the option to extend the sale period by 90 days, giving TikTok's parent company a whole year to make a sale.

The U.S. government is aggressively seeking to ban TikTok because it fears the company's structure would allow the Chinese government to access American users' data. ByteDance refutes these claims, but that certainly hasn't stopped the House, Senate and Biden from pursuing the ban.

TikTok is exceedingly popular, with more than 170 million users. Thanks to its massive reach, it has turned into an economic and cultural phenomenon. The effects of banning the app would be far-reaching. However, it's easy to imagine users flocking to another vertical video platform like YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, or even something new. 

The Chinese-owned company is expected to fight the ban aggressively. Just last week, it made a statement claiming that the U.S. House is "using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans."

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.

  • df29412
    TikTok is not about privacy. It's about disinformation from Chinese editors. Other countries have banned it, so the US is not breaking new ground. It's time for users to abandon their TikTok tunnels and join the real world.