US president signs law to force sale of TikTok under threat of ban

A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol.
A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol. Copyright Mariam Zuhaib/AP Photo
Copyright Mariam Zuhaib/AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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The US Congress sent an aid package to the US president that included a provision requiring TikTok's parent company to sell the platform or face a ban.


US President Joe Biden signed a law on Wednesday that will force TikTok's parent company to sell the platform or face a ban.

The TikTok legislation was part of a larger package that included aid for Ukraine and Israel.

The law gives TikTok owner ByteDance nine months to sell the platform, with a possible three-month extension. But legal challenges could mean it could take longer.

The platform is used by 170 million Americans and the bill reflects long-held fears over Chinese threats.

TikTok said it will mount a legal challenge against what it called an “unconstitutional” effort by Congress.

"We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail," the company said in a statement.

“The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep US data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation".

Why did the US pass the legislation?

Lawmakers and administration officials have expressed concerns that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over US user data or influence Americans by suppressing or promoting certain content on TikTok.

“Congress is not acting to punish ByteDance, TikTok or any other individual company," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell.

"Congress is acting to prevent foreign adversaries from conducting espionage, surveillance, maligned operations, harming vulnerable Americans, our servicemen and women, and our US government personnel".

Several opponents of the TikTok measure say the best way to protect consumers is by implementing a comprehensive data privacy law that targets all companies regardless of their origin.

They have said the US has not provided evidence that proves TikTok shared user information with Chinese authorities.

"This legislation is unconstitutional and a real blow to the free expression rights of 170 million people who create and engage with content on TikTok," Kate Ruane, director of the Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology's Free Expression Project, said in a statement provided to Euronews Next.

"Congress shouldn't be in the business of banning platforms. They should be working to enact comprehensive privacy legislation that protects our private data no matter where we choose to engage online".

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