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Will the US follow India's suit? US Senate passes bill that could ban TikTok

Madison Hall,Hannah Getahun   

Will the US follow India's suit? US Senate passes bill that could ban TikTok
  • The Senate just passed a TikTok "ban" as part of a larger foreign-aid bill.
  • Once President Joe Biden signs it into law, ByteDance will have 270 days to sell TikTok.
The Senate passed a multifaceted bill on Tuesday evening that will effectively ban TikTok from the US app store once President Joe Biden signs it, as he has signaled he will. The final vote was 79 in favor and 18 opposed.

The House of Representatives passed a series of bills over the weekend to provide foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and humanitarian funding for the Gaza Strip. Tucked into the foreign-aid bills was text forcing TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to sell the social-media service to an American company or face a ban.

The House passed a similar bill in March, pressuring ByteDance to divest within 180 days. The newer version gives ByteDance 270 days to divest, a decision that appears to have been enough to sway the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Cantwell didn't support the previous TikTok bill, saying she was unsure it could pass legal scrutiny. This is a problem other senators have pointed out, given the legislation specifically identifies ByteDance by name.

Biden has said for months that he'll pass the legislation once it reaches his desk. In his last year in office, former President Donald Trump tried to force ByteDance to sell to an American company via executive order, but a federal district court struck down the order.

The bill's passage in the Senate has come after months of TikTok lobbying against it. The app prompted its users to reach out to their representatives, and its CEO personally traveled to Washington, DC, to try to stop it. China itself has apparently lobbied against the bill, too. Politico reported earlier in April that officials from the Chinese Embassy met with congressional staffers to voice their displeasure with the legislation.

TikTok has vowed to challenge the bill in court once Biden signs it.

Enacting the TikTok "ban" could hurt Biden's chances at reelection in November, given the app's popularity among younger demographics and the likelihood of a close final vote. Trump may have picked up on that, too — earlier in the year, he spoke against banning TikTok despite his actions while president.


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