President Biden Signs Bill Banning TikTok

On Wednesday, April 24, 2024, President Joe Biden signed legislation requiring Chinese tech firm ByteDance to divest itself of the TikTok app or face a ban in the United States.

H.R. 8038 “authorize[s] the President to impose certain sanctions with respect to Russia and Iran, and for other purposes.” The bill provides $95 billion in foreign aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. The bill also includes a measure that requires ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok within nine months. If TikTok is not sold, the app will face a nationwide ban. The president can grant a one-time 90 day extension to complete the sale. As such, TikTok could be banned in the United States as early as January 2025.

ByteDance purchased the app in 2017 and relaunched said app as TikTok. Since the acquisition, TikTok has faced scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers. In 2019, Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton sent a letter to U.S. intelligence officials raising national security concerns. In 2020, President Donald J. Trump attempted to ban TikTok. Ultimately, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that TikTok could continue to operate. Despite the scrutiny and national security concerns, TikTok is used by 170 million Americans, including President Biden’s election campaign.

President Biden issued a statement focused on the foreign aid component of the bill. “Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership: we stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.” The statement continues on to state “[t]his critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin.”

Additional Reading

President Biden signs law to ban TikTok nationwide unless it is sold, NPR (April 24, 2024)

Biden signs a bill that could ban TikTok — after the 2024 election, NBC News (April 24, 2024)

H.R. 8038, GovInfo

Statement from President Joe Biden on Senate Passage of the National Security Package, The White House (April 23, 2024)

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