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US Senate passes bill to ban TikTok: Here’s what happens now

Published Apr 24th, 2024 7:55AM EDT
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Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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The US Senate voted in favor of legislation that could ban TikTok in the country if ByteDance doesn’t divest its popular app over the next nine months to a year. This bill comes amid widespread worries that China could access Americans’ data or surveil them with the app.

While the US House of Representatives has already passed the bill, it’s up to President Joe Biden to sign this law, which appears he’ll do this Wednesday.

Senator Marco Rubio said: “For years, we’ve allowed the Chinese Communist party to control one of the most popular apps in America that was dangerously shortsighted. A new law is going to require its Chinese owner to sell the app. This is a good move for America.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized the legislation. He reiterated what he said in March: “The US has never found any evidence of TikTok posing a threat to the US national security; it has never stopped going after TikTok.”

According to a message seen by Reuters, TikTok told its staff that “This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,” as it plans to take the case to court. The American Civil Liberties Union said that banning or requiring TikTok’s divestiture would “set an alarming global precedent for excessive government control over social media platforms.”

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden offered a counterpoint to this bill, as he thinks it “provides broad authority that could be abused by a future administration to violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.”

That said, this TikTok ban could cause more harm to American liberties in addition to worsening relations between the US and China. In the past week, BGR reported that the Chinese government has blocked several messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Telegram, Threads, and Signal.

While the US usually says blocking, tracking, and taking other people’s liberties is something related to China, it’s controversial that Congress and President Joe Biden want to follow the same path by undermining one of the most popular social media platforms in the country. Also, TikTok maintains its position that it has not shared and would not share US user data with the Chinese government.

BGR will continue to report on whether this TikTok ban go through.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.