: TikTok ban on smartphone over American Flag

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Joe Biden signs TikTok ban into law—ByteDance has a year to sell

Biden signed legislation banning TikTok today if its parent company, ByteDance, doesn't sell the app within a year.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Apr 24, 2024

President Joe Biden signed legislation banning TikTok today if its parent company, ByteDance, doesn’t sell the app within a year. ByteDance is a Chinese-owned company that many elected officials claim is allowing China to spy on U.S. TikTok users.

As reported by NPR, if TikTok is not sold, it would become illegal for internet services to support TikTok and the app wouldn’t be available on app stores.

The ban, which was attached to foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel, sped through Congress: The legislation passed in the House of Representatives over the weekend and in the Senate yesterday. Biden was poised to sign the bill into law.

“Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership,” Biden said in a statement. “We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”

This isn’t the first time Congress has tried to pass a TikTok ban. Just last month, the House passed a different ban that would have punished app stores for offering TikTok. And in 2023, the RESTRICT Act was introduced in the Senate, which would have required the government to “identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology” and social media apps, like TikTok.

The legislation signed by Biden today, though, was the first time a national TikTok ban was successfully made into law.

Before the law’s passage in the House and Senate, a group of TikTok creators wrote an open letter to Biden asking him not to sign it into law because the app is a “medium for storytelling,” a source of income for many, a way to connect with younger voters, and not a danger to national security. The group threatened not to engage with TikTok’s get-out-the-vote efforts if the ban was passed.

“We will continue to mobilize and utilize our platforms to defend TikTok, even though it comes at the opportunity cost of collaborating on other important initiatives like voter turnout,” the letter stated.

And TikTok is an important issue for many young voters: Almost half of respondents ages 18-34 opposed the ban according to the results of a recent CNBC poll.

Last year, the Daily Dot spoke with college students at Universities in which campus-wide TikTok bans had been passed. Many said they use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to bypass bans and access TikTok.

It’s unclear if the same would hold true if ByteDance doesn’t sell TikTok and the app is banned in the U.S.

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*First Published: Apr 24, 2024, 12:33 pm CDT