HomeWinBuzzer NewsByteDance Under Pressure: US Bill Threatens TikTok with Ban Over National Security...

ByteDance Under Pressure: US Bill Threatens TikTok with Ban Over National Security Concerns

US lawmakers propose forcing TikTok sale over national security concerns. The bill, targeting foreign-controlled apps, could ban TikTok in the US.


US lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at compelling ByteDance, the Chinese internet giant, to sell its popular video-sharing application , setting a precedent for the digital platform's future in the United States. The bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary-Controlled Applications Act, seeks to limit access to app stores and web hosting services in the US for apps under control of, or influenced by, foreign adversaries. TikTok, boasting 170 million monthly active users in the US, stands at the crossroads should this pass.

Broad Implications and Concerns

The proposed legislation does not singularly target TikTok but encapsulates a broader purview allowing the US president to identify other applications controlled by foreign adversaries that may pose a risk if they boast over one million annual active users. This comprehensive approach stems from continuous concerns regarding the potential influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over and, by extension, TikTok's operations. According to the bill's proponents, such influence could allow the CCP to manipulate the app's algorithm, surveil users, and conduct silent influence operations populating American users' content feeds.

Reactions and Responses

The bill has garnered support from various sectors of the , including the White House, despite President Joe Biden's campaign utilizing TikTok for outreach purposes. The administration emphasizes meeting Americans on their favoured platforms, indicating a willingness to adapt based on the bill's passage. In contrast, Beijing, ByteDance, and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom of the Press Foundation have voiced staunch opposition. The ACLU deems the effort unconstitutional, arguing it infringes on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans and could silence journalists who leverage the platform for reporting news. Meanwhile, TikTok asserts that the bill represents a blanket ban under the guise of choice, accusing the legislation of trampling constitutional rights and hindering the growth of small businesses reliant on the platform.

The introduction of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary-Controlled Applications Act marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue about national security, digital sovereignty, and the complex web of international relations influencing the tech industry. As this bill progresses through legislative scrutiny, the potential implications for ByteDance, TikTok users, and the wider social media landscape remain a focal point of interest for stakeholders worldwide.

Previous Threats Against ByteDance

This is not the first time ByteDance has faced pressure around TikTok in the US. In 2020, then President, Donald Trump, signed a motion to force ByteDance to sell off TikTok or remove its operations from the US. Microsoft was reported to be a prospective buyer but ByteDance eventually signed a deal with Oracle to allow the company to handle TikTok operations in the US. 

In 2023, the future of TikTok in the US was again under threat. Lawmakers in the US and in other nations have often voiced concerns about TikTok potentially sharing data with the Chinese government. For example, in Canada and the UK the platform is banned from all government devices.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

Recent News