TikTok Ban Law is More Or Less Finalised As the Senate Has Approved It

Just recently, we all heard about the revised TikTok bill being passed by the House of Representatives in the US.

To recap, the revised bill gives TikTok’s parent company ByteDance up to one year, from the original six months, to sell TikTok to a US company before the country bans TikTok there.

The revised bill was also included in a four-bill package, which includes foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

The ban on TikTok has been talked about for four years, though nothing was ever concrete until last month, when the bill to “ban” it was passed in the House of Representatives, and the revised one passed again last week.

But then, it still required the Senate vote.

The inclusion of the TikTok bill in the package certainly sped things up and got Senate to take an interest in it.

To know more about why the bill was revised as well as why it was strategically included in the four-bill bundle, read this article.

Previously, it was mentioned that the bill would be headed to Senate next, as the Senate is the next stop after the House, before the bill can reach US President Joe Biden’s desk.

The bill reached the Senate last week, here’s what happened.

Senate Approves The TikTok Bill

Four separate bills were combined into a single vote for Senator consideration on 20 April, and the Senate approved the measure 79 to 18 on 23 April.

This spells trouble for TikTok as President Biden has already said that he will sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

Minutes after the Senate voted, Biden issued a statement saying he plans to sign the bill into law on the next day.

Once signed, ByteDance will have roughly nine months, or up to one year if progress indicates a sale is reaching completion, to sell TikTok or face a national ban.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” TikTok said on X (formerly Twitter) last week.

America’s History With TikTok

For half a decade, US lawmakers have scrutinised the relationship between the popular social media app and ByteDance over concerns it could leave American user data vulnerable to surveillance by the Chinese government.

Under Chinese cybersecurity laws, TikTok, like all Chinese owned apps, is bound by an agreement to share all user data with the Chinese government on request.

The US, having deemed this a national security risk, has been trying to ban the app.

Previously, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew told US lawmakers that ByteDance has never been asked by the Chinese government for data on its US users, and would never comply with such a request.

However, ByteDance did explore an option to safeguard US data under a plan dubbed “Project Texas“. Under this plan, US data would be stored with American tech giant Oracle.

However, as negotiations between TikTok and the US government weakened, lawmakers reinvigorated legislation, granting the executive branch power to restrict the app.

So There’s No Hope For America’s TikTok Users?

Surprisingly, things could still change.

Although the House and Senate have already approved the bill, and President Biden is about to do the same, the US presidential election is coming up very soon.

The 60th US presidential election is set to be held on 5 November 2024, about three months ahead of the nine-month deadline for ByteDance to sell TikTok.

The presidential inauguration is set to take place on 20 January, just a few days before said deadline.

Although former President Donald Trump was previously against the ban of TikTok, he has switched sides and is now against a ban of the app.

Ironic, considering he first proposed the TikTok ban a few years ago.

Because he’s now against the TikTok ban, he has made himself a little more popular with America’s Gen Zs and millennials who love the social media app.

If he wins this year’s election, it’s very possible things could unfold differently.