Home SocialMinds Industry Will TikTok get banned in the US? 
  • Melissa Harvey
  • 3 min

Will TikTok get banned in the US? 

You’ve probably heard claims that TikTok is facing the threat of an all-out ban across the pond. But just how likely is it that US lawmakers pull the plug on TikTok? And how did we get to this point? 

It all started with a bipartisan bill put forward by US senators last week. On 7 March, the bill, which proposes that TikTok either comes into US ownership or is banned in the region, was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

On 13 March, the bill was voted on by the House of Representatives – and it passed by a landslide: 362 to 65. This means the bill now moves up the ranks to the Senate, where it will be deliberated. Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Shumer’s short statement says as much: “The Senate will review the legislation when it comes over from the House.” 

TikTok responded: “This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: It’s a ban. We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, seven million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.” 

Why the ban? 

The lawmakers who proposed the bill cited TikTok’s Chinese origins as a risk to Americans’ sensitive data and broader national security. 

TikTok has said it has never shared data with the Chinese government and wouldn’t do so if asked.  

This feels familiar… 

TikTok faced an attempted ban by Donald Trump in 2020 and a state-level ban passed in Montana in 2023, but courts blocked both of those bans on grounds of first amendment violations. 

What happens now? 

If the Senate votes to pass the bill, it moves to the attention of the President. The decision to enact the bill rests with Biden – but he’s made it clear he intends to, should it land on his desk. 

If enacted, the legislation would give ByteDance 165 days to divest from the social media app used by about 170 million Americans, or face a ban in US app stores and web hosting services. 

The impact for brands: 

Senators have publicly opposed the bill on both political sides. As such, the fate of the bill is more uncertain in the Senate than the House. It’s looking likely that the bill will be rejected before a ban become a serious possibility. 

If the bill is indeed blocked, a ‘middle ground’ solution could happen before the next legal dispute rolls around: Project Texas. The project is already underway, but essentially, TikTok’s US user data would be stored on isolated US-based servers, under official oversight. TikTok might resolve to speed up this process to appease lawmakers opposed to its Chinese connections. 

But it’s important to note that the bill doesn’t just apply to TikTok. It’s concerned with other China-owned platforms including US operations of Tencent’s WeChat (WhatsApp alternative). 

TL;DR? You don’t need to be worried just now.  

This a developing story with a lot of moving parts, but we’ll keep you updated when there’s more info.  

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