Biden Signs TikTok Ban Into Law, but His Campaign Will Continue Using It

Biden Signs TikTok Ban Into Law, but His Campaign Will Continue Using It

President Joe Biden signed the TikTok bill into law yesterday, officially starting the 270-day clock for TikTok’s owner, China-based Bytedance, to sell the social media app or face a ban in American app stores.

“It’s a good day for America, it’s a good day for Europe, and it’s a good day for world peace,” said Biden in a speech on Wednesday, shortly after signing a package of national security bills that included the TikTok bill.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew immediately responded by saying “We’re not going anywhere,” in a video posted on his platform. TikTok has previously indicated it would fight the US government in court when this bill becomes law. The social media company views the law Biden signed as an outright ban that would “trample” the free speech of its 170 million American users.

“Make no mistake, this is a ban, a ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice,” Chew said in the video. “Politicians may say otherwise. But don’t get confused.”

Despite the years-long effort by United States politicians to ban TikTok, out of fear China’s government uses the app to spy on Americans, Biden did not mention TikTok, Bytedance, or even China in his speech Wednesday morning. Biden reserved his words for condemning Vladimir Putin, signaling support for Israel, and speaking generally about America’s ability to “stand up against dictators.”

Biden’s campaign plans to continue using TikTok throughout the election to reach younger voters, according to NBC News. The President’s campaign launched an official TikTok account in February of this year. The @bidenhq account has over 300,000 followers on TikTok, and its videos have received roughly 3.8 million likes. In an interesting coincidence, the 270-day countdown for TikTok ends the day before the next presidential inauguration, but legal challenges will almost certainly impact the final date.

This week, the TikTok bill flew through Congress inside a destined-to-pass $US90 billion foreign aid package to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel that also includes some humanitarian aid to Palestinians. The TikTok bill’s inclusion into this foreign aid package may have been a contributing factor to its swift passage into law.

China has banned American apps such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for over a decade. In just the last week, Apple was ordered to remove WhatsApp and Threads from Chinese user devices. While TikTok is not the first app that America has forced to divest from China (Grindr in 2020), the TikTok bill is the first American law to do so. Biden set a new precedent around the freedom of American app stores on Wednesday, but he didn’t even talk about it.

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