TikTok Is One Signature Away from Being Banned. What’s Going to Be, Joe?

The US Senate passed a controversial landmark bill that could result in TikTok's ban in the country if President Joe Biden signs.  

On Wednesday, the US Senate passed a controversial landmark bill that could result in TikTok’s ban in the country if President Joe Biden signs it.  

What About the Bill?

This bill gives the Chinese company ByteDance, the mother company of TikTok, the option to sell its stake within a period of nine months. If ByteDance fails in doing so, the app would face a US blockade. Currently, the bill awaits if Biden signs his approval upon receipt.

ByteDance informed BBC of its lack of immediate reaction to the development. Previously, the company expressed its resistance to any forced TikTok sale, with TikTok CEO stating revealing the company’s willingness to take this to the US court.

If ByteDance abides with the US directive, Chinese authorization would still be required. However, Beijing has pledged to oppose such actions. Analysts expect a lengthy approval process, potentially over a long period of time, perhaps months or even years.

The TikTok bill was approved alongside three other bills, comprising military assistance for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other US allies in the Indo-Pacific area. It garnered broad backing from legislators, with 79 Senators voting in favor and 18 opposed.

“For years we’ve allowed the Chinese Communist party to control one of the most popular apps in America that was dangerously short-sighted,” stated Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

“A new law is going to require Chinese owner to sell the app. This is a good move for America.” He continued to state.

What would happen if ByteDance refuses to sell the app? That’s another story that we are waiting to unfold.

The Crippling American Fear

The main fear driving the American government’s push for this bill is the alledged Chinese eavesdropping and data collection on millions of American users. A point the US is using to further strengthen the American stance in forcing ByteDance’s hand to sell its app.

Last week, the social media company mentioned that the bill would “trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate seven million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the US economy, annually.”

TikTok has made a statement that ByteDance “is not an agent of China or any other country.” Weirdly enough, ByteDance insists that it’s not a Chinese firm either. If so, then what is it? Because we know it’s not American. Clearly from all the recent unfolding of events.

Last month, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, made a clear stance on keeping the efforts to protect the platform, stressing their intention is to exercise “legal rights” if necessary. Mr. Shou faced Congressional warnings twice within a year, downplaying TikTok’s ties to Chinese authorities.

The platform is in support against the potential ban through an extensive lobbying campaign and urging users to voice their opposition. Legal expert Carl Tobias predicts a lengthy legal battle, possibly spanning two years, if ByteDance pursues litigation. He also noted that failure to find a buyer within the specified nine-month period could prolong any action against TikTok in the US.

Could the presence of TikTok be related, if Biden signs, and if he wins for that matter, to his 2024 elections?

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