TikTok Ban Soars Through Senate, Heads To Biden’s Desk

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(IntegrityPress.org) – The hotly debated legislation that will force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell it or face a ban in the U.S. passed both the House and Senate after being attached to the latest foreign aid package. The aid package, approved by the Senate on Tuesday, April 23, included $61 billion for Ukraine’s defensive efforts against Russia, as well as further funding for Israel’s military and for humanitarian assistance in Gaza. House Republicans opted to attach the TikTok legislation to the aid package the week before, which has helped to speed its progress through Capitol Hill.

An earlier version of the TikTok bill had ground to a halt in the Senate, so its proponents were happy to bundle it up with an ostensibly more popular bill. The bill forces TikTok’s parent company to divest from it or lose its American users and has been fought for by lawmakers concerned about potential data harvesting by the Chinese Communist Party. ByteDance has repeatedly claimed it does not share the data of its 170 million American users with the Chinese government, claiming not to be a Chinese company as it is 60% owned by a global investment firm.

Although the divestment legislation has now been signed into law by President Biden, some experts believe that it could face a long legal battle, with critics claiming that it is a governmental overreach that acts against American freedom of speech, and may yet be fought in courts across the country. One federal judge already blocked a Montana law that sought to ban the app in November 2023 after the company and five of its users sued.

There is also the issue that should ByteDance try to sell TikTok to an American company, such a high-value deal potentially worth tens of billions of dollars could easily take longer than the deadline of nine months to achieve, although the revised legislation does allow for a possible additional three months should a sale be in progress by the deadline date.

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