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Biden Clears Path for Potential TikTok Ban

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Legislation that could potentially lead to an outright ban on TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, or compel its sale, has been approved by the Senate and has been signed by President Joe Biden. ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company located in China, has been given a one-year deadline to relinquish control or witness its removal from US app stores.

The legislation earned overwhelming support in the Senate, with 79 senators endorsing it while 18 voted against it. Furthermore, the House rallied behind the decision on Saturday with a sweeping result of 360 votes to 58. The vote was included in a broader package supporting foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

President Biden signed the bill this morning.

Compelled by the incoming legislation, ByteDance will either need to hand over TikTok to an American corporation within a year or witness the app being blacklisted in US app stores. Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s overseer for Public Policy in the Americas, however, has declared a potential legal battle against this legislation.

With the evolution of the law, the company aims to move its protests to the courtrooms, as indicated by a memo penned by Beckerman. The memo asserts the law’s disregard for the First Amendment of the US Constitution, advocating freedom of speech.

Related: The Dangerous Language and First Amendment Challenges of the Rushed Anti-TikTok Bill

This drawn-out battle over the algorithms and data management of the app, hugely popular since its 2017 launch, has been a political bone of contention.

Lawmakers continue to question the potential for ByteDance, in its position as the parent company, to gain access to sensitive user information and impose censorship aligning with the Chinese government’s ideology, an accusation consistently denied by TikTok.

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