UPDATED: US Senate approves bill paving way for TikTok ban

The US Senate has greenlit a contentious bill that holds the potential for TikTok’s expulsion from American shores. Under this legislation, ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, is mandated to divest its ownership within nine months, failing which, the app faces a ban in the United States. The bill, now awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature, is poised to become law imminently.

Previously, the company had vehemently opposed any compulsion to sell TikTok. If ByteDance is coerced into relinquishing TikTok, any resulting deal would necessitate approval from Chinese authorities, though Beijing has vowed to resist such endeavors, potentially elongating the process into years.

This legislative maneuver transpired within a larger legislative package encompassing military assistance for strategic allies like Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The bill commanded broad bipartisan support, with 79 Senators voting in favor and 18 against.

Senator Marco Rubio underscored the significance of wresting control of TikTok from Chinese oversight, labeling it a crucial move for national security. Concerns about sensitive data of millions of Americans falling under Chinese jurisdiction spurred Congressional action to sever ties between TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company.

TikTok, for its part, has vigorously contested the bill, decrying it as a threat to free speech and a severe blow to the US economy. ByteDance has also emphasized its global ownership structure, distancing itself from exclusive ties to China.

However, legal experts anticipate protracted legal battles ahead, with potential delays if a suitable buyer for ByteDance’s stake isn’t identified within the stipulated timeframe. Such legal entanglements could extend the saga for up to two years, prolonging the uncertainty surrounding TikTok’s fate in the United States.

TikTok vows legal battle against ‘Unconstitutional’ US law

TikTok has declared its intent to legally challenge a law it deems “unconstitutional,” which could potentially lead to its sale or prohibition in the United States. Following President Biden’s endorsement, the bill mandates TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to divest the platform within nine months or face US restrictions.

The legislation arises from apprehensions that TikTok might share user data with the Chinese government, an allegation the company vehemently denies. Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s CEO, expressed determination to contest the law in court, affirming confidence in their stance grounded in both facts and constitutional principles.

In a video shared on the platform, Chew criticized the bill, urging users to recount how TikTok had positively impacted their lives. He emphasized the law’s implications as a ban on both TikTok and its users’ voices.

In a separate statement, TikTok reiterated its belief in the validity of their position under both factual and legal frameworks. The company emphasized its substantial investments aimed at safeguarding US data and ensuring the platform remains free from external influence or manipulation.