Biden Signals He’ll Sign Ban Of TikTok After Congress Passage

By Victor Winston, updated on March 10, 2024

In a significant move that may reshape the social media landscape, President Joe Biden has backed a congressional effort to ban TikTok, The Hill reported.

This support underscores the bipartisan sentiment in Congress amid growing concerns over national security tied to the app's Chinese ownership.

Bipartisan Efforts in Congress to Address National Security

The bill in question, known as the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, has united lawmakers from both sides of the aisle over the issue of national security.

Reps. Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, spearheaded this legislation from their positions on a special House committee focused on China. Their work illustrates the concern over foreign influence that transcends party lines.

Just days after its introduction, the House Energy and Commerce Committee showcased its unanimous backing for the bill, signaling a strong concern over the influence of foreign technology on American soil. Furthermore, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has indicated a timeline for bringing this critical bill to a vote on the House floor, emphasizing the urgency felt by legislative leaders.

A TikTok spokesperson warned of the severe implications of the legislation, stating, "The legislation has a ‘predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States.’" This perspective highlights the contentious nature of this debate, with significant ramifications for users and the company.

TikTok's Ownership Sparks Widespread Concern

At the heart of the issue is TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, which originates from China. The bill effectively targets this connection by mandating divestment from ByteDance; otherwise, TikTok faces a ban in U.S. app stores and web hosting services. This provision has a deadline, giving ByteDance 165 days to comply once the bill is enacted.

In response, TikTok has launched a campaign to motivate its vast user base to rally against the bill's passage. This move illustrates the company's determination to fight for its presence in the United States, viewing the legislation as an existential threat.

The bill's reach goes beyond just TikTok, granting the president the authority to identify and take action against other apps that may pose national security risks from foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. This broad scope underscores the legislative intent to safeguard American cybersecurity from multiple vectors of potential threat.

A Debate Beyond the Digital Realm

Criticism of the bill has emerged from various quarters, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight First Amendment Institute, who argue that the proposed legislation infringes upon free speech rights. This contention indicates the complexities of balancing national security concerns with constitutional freedoms.

Former President Donald Trump has also opposed the bill, suggesting it might unduly benefit Meta, Facebook's parent entity. Trump's perspective adds a unique angle to the debate, given his previous attempts to ban TikTok during his presidency.

"If they pass it, I’ll sign it," promised President Biden, indicating a clear path forward for the legislation, contingent on its successful navigation through Congress. This statement underscores Biden's preparedness to act decisively on national security matters, especially when bipartisan support is evident.

This unfolding story captures a pivotal moment in the intersection of technology, geopolitics, and civil liberties. As the bill progresses through the legislative process, the outcomes will reverberate through political chambers, tech circles, and American homes alike. The dichotomy between safeguarding national security and upholding free speech principles remains at the forefront of this discussion, emphasizing the intricate challenges faced in regulating the digital domain.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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