US Senate votes overwhelmingly to pass bill that includes TikTok ban

The bill passed along with new military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.

Tan Min-Wei | April 24, 2024, 12:10 PM

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A bill that would eventually ban social media platform TikTok in the U.S. if the China-based parent company ByteDance does not sell it off has been passed by the United States (U.S.) Senate on Apr. 23, 2024.

Overwhelming support

According to Bloomberg, the bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 79 votes to 18.

The bill requires ByteDance to sell the popular social media platform within a year, to a company that is not based in a country considered a foreign adversary of the U.S..

Should ByteDance not be able to find a buyer, TikTok would be banned in the U.S.

It passed the Senate as part of a combined bill that included the ban as well as approval for new military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.

These measures were passed on Apr. 20 by the U.S. House of Representatives, the lower house of the U.S. Congress, in the form of four separate bills, all of which had similarly large margin of passage.

The bill now requires the approval of United States President Joe Biden in order to become law.

A statement by Biden was released shortly after the bill passed pledging to sign it into law the next day on Apr. 24, saying:

"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."

Legal action

However, this is not to say that the bill no longer faces any significant obstacles.

Tiktok plans to take legal action in order to fight a ban, according to Bloomberg.

The proposed sale of TikTok comes amidst continuing tension between the United States and China, with U.S. legislators accusing TikTok of being a vector for China’s influence operations, as well as a potential source of sensitive data from its over 170 million U.S. users.

TikTok has previously denied that TikTok was giving any information to China's government,

This is not the first time that the U.S. has attempted to ban TikTok, with a previous attempt in 20/20 being narrowly averted.

China has also said that it would prevent any attempt by ByteDance from divesting from TikTok.

The passing of this legislation would set the stage for a new digital-era confrontation between the two superpowers.

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Top image via Ajay ParthasarathySolen Feyissa on Unsplash