Biden says he would sign TikTok bill that could ban app


Washington — President Biden said Friday he would sign legislation that could lead to a ban of TikTok, an immensely popular video-sharing app that is owned by the China-based company ByteDance. 

“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” Mr. Biden, whose 2024 campaign recently joined the app, told reporters. 

The bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, would require ByteDance to sell TikTok within six months or be banned from U.S. app stores and web-hosting services if it does not cut ties. 

It’s slated to get a vote on the House floor next week, according to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, who called the measure a “critical national security bill.” 

House lawmakers have moved quickly on the legislation. It was introduced on Tuesday and advanced out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. 

In a one-page memo to members of Congress that was obtained by CBS News, the Justice Department laid out the dangers it says TikTok poses, including the “tremendous amounts of sensitive data” it collects, and the potential for the Chinese government to carry out an influence campaign. 

The Justice Department said the legislation would be on more stable legal ground if it gave the government the authority to force ByteDance to divest from TikTok, rather than to impose an outright ban on the app if ByteDance doesn’t sell.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre suggested the legislation may not yet stand up to legal scrutiny. 

“Once it gets to a place where we think … it’s on legal standing, and it’s in a place where it can get out of Congress, then the president would sign it. But we need to continue to work on it,” she said during Wednesday’s press briefing. 

National security officials and lawmakers have warned of the potential risks the app poses for years, saying it could be used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans or spread misinformation or propaganda. 

TikTok unleashed a flood of calls to lawmakers on Thursday after it urged users to contact their representatives to tell them to vote against the bill. “Stop a TikTok shutdown,” a notice sent to users in the app said. 

It sent another notice Friday that said, “The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a TikTok ban. This means your content, your right to express yourself and your income will be shut down, too.” 

TikTok has had faster user growth in recent years compared to other social media platforms, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last year. The study said about a third of U.S. adults use the app, but other platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, were more dominant. 


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