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New Legislation Oulines Potential TikTok Ban

In a move that could significantly impact the landscape of social media and politics, President Joe Biden has signed a $95 billion national security package, concealing within it a provision regarding the fate of the popular video-sharing app TikTok. The provision stipulates that while a ban on TikTok remains a possibility, it won’t be enforced before the 2024 election.

This decision means that TikTok, boasting a staggering 170 million American users, will continue to exert its influence throughout the upcoming campaign season, serving as a vital platform for candidates to engage with predominantly younger demographics. Originally, the legislation could have spelled an immediate ban on TikTok before the 2024 election. However, recent alterations have extended the timeline, potentially shielding lawmakers and President Biden from any immediate voter backlash.

Under the new legislation, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, headquartered in Beijing, has nine months to sell the app’s operations in the United States or face a nationwide prohibition. President Biden retains the authority to grant a single 90-day extension, effectively extending the deadline for a year, provided there is evidence of progress toward divestiture.

The earliest a ban could come into effect is January 2025, or April with the extension. Legal challenges from TikTok could further prolong the process, potentially tying the matter up in the courts for an extended period. The shift in the legislation’s timeline has drawn attention to the political motivations behind the decision. Democrats have been cited as the driving force behind extending the deadline, with some acknowledging the convenient alignment with the 2024 election. Lawmakers advocating for the revised bill argue that the extended timeline improves the likelihood of a successful sale of TikTok, thereby addressing national security concerns associated with the app’s Chinese ownership.

However, TikTok has shown resistance to the idea of divestment, signaling its intent to challenge any potential ban in court.

Former President Donald Trump, who previously attempted to ban TikTok through executive order, has sought to capitalize politically on the issue, blaming President Biden for the potential ban and urging voters, particularly the younger demographic, to remember this come election day. Despite the political maneuvering, opinions on TikTok’s fate vary among lawmakers and candidates. Some view the app as a vital communication tool, while others express concerns about national security and data privacy. As the debate continues, the future of TikTok remains uncertain, with its potential ban now intricately intertwined with the political landscape of the 2024 election.



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Patrick Zarrelli

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