TikTok on borrowed time in US as agreement on new law nears

Parent company has two choices: sell or be banned
Image: Getty via Future

23 April 2024

The US Senate will vote again this week on a possible ban on the popular video creation app TikTok. That application is suspected of being used by China to spy on US citizens. An earlier version of that bill had been accepted by the House of Representatives, but did not make it through the Senate.

The revised version of the law is wrapped up in a bill that also envisions support for Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel. In this way, the promoters hope to find more support in the Senate.

Furthermore, the law has also been made slightly more flexible. The original law required Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the US branch of TikTok within six months. If it did not, TikTok’s application would no longer be found in US app stores Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. In the new bill, that time limit has been moved to nine months. In addition, president Joe Biden can grant a one-time extension of another 90 days. De facto, under the new law, ByteDance gets 12 months instead of six to seek a resolution.




And now what? The new law received 360 votes to 58 in the House of Representatives, an even broader majority than the first proposal (352-65). The opponents are a motley crew of delegates with the most outspoken opinions on both sides of the spectrum.

After the House, the proposal again shifts to the Senate. There it again threatens to be very close. If the Senate approves the new law, it will be up to President Joe Biden. The latter already indicated he would agree to such a ban.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the EU is threatening to ban a new service launched by TikTok in Europe because it is “as addictive as cigarettes. TikTok Lite rewards users for watching videos.

It would be the first time the EU has used its new powers since the introduction of the Digital Service Act (DSA) last August.

The commission gave TikTok until Wednesday to defend itself, after which the commission will make a decision. On Monday, the commission said it had not received satisfactory answers from TikTok about safeguards against addiction.

The app has so far launched in France and Spain, despite an ongoing DSA investigation into the company regarding child protection.

Users can earn Amazon vouchers, gift cards through PayPal or TikTok’s Coins currency for watching videos, liking content, following creators or inviting friends.

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