A Federal TikTok Ban Was Just Signed into Law, but the Platform Could Still Be Saved

On April 23, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that threatens to ban TikTok if it isn't sold quickly, a measure that was introduced as part of a foreign aid package meant to support Israel and Ukraine

<p>Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty </p>

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty

President Joe Biden has signed into law new legislation that will ban TikTok — unless the app quickly finds new owners.

The legislation was introduced as part of a $95 million foreign aid package meant to support Israel and Ukraine, and was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Under the law, the current owners of the video sharing platform, Chinese tech firm ByteDance, will need to sell the app within 270 days or else it will be wiped from Apple and Google app stores in the United States. Critics have noted that the deadline to divest may not be feasible for such a significant sale.

Related: The Biggest Bombshells from the TikTok Ban Hearing

The potential ban comes amid growing security concerns that China could use the app as a surveillance tool on American citizens and as a way to access information or data on them without their knowledge.

"We are giving people a choice here: To improve this platform and have the opportunity for Americans to make sure that they are not being maligned by our foreign adversaries," said Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, per USA Today.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, center, chairs the Senate Commerce Committee
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, center, chairs the Senate Commerce Committee

TikTok has denied that information on the app would be shared with the Chinese government, and the Chinese foreign ministry also argued that “the U.S. has never found any evidence of TikTok posing a threat to the U.S.'s national security,” according to a report by Reuters.

TikTok owners will likely combat the legislation on the grounds of freedom of speech, as a memo sent out company wide by a TikTok executive warned that this was the “beginning, not the end” of their fight to continue business, according to CNN.

Related: Biden Administration Presses Pause on Trump's Push for TikTok Ban While Reviewing Security Risks

There have been a few previous attempts to ban the popular social media app, including in 2020, when former President Donald Trump issued an executive order on the issue. That attempt was ultimately blocked by a federal judge.

More recently, in November 2023, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte approved a bill that would ban people from using the app in the state, saying that the effort was made in order to "protect Montanans' personal and private data." A Montana judge eventually blocked that ban, citing the users' First Amendment rights, per Reuters.

And just last month, a bill calling to ban TikTok was overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House but failed to pass the Senate.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

As for what Americans think of the TikTok ban, a Pew Research poll released in December 2023 found that 38% of Americans supported banning TikTok, a significant drop from the 50% who supported the ban a year prior.

The latest poll also showed an increase in people who opposed the ban or were unsure, with 27% and 35%, respectively, up from 22% and 27%.

Over 150 million Americans and 5 million businesses use TikTok, according to a release from the company in March 2023. The company also noted that it employs almost 7,000 people across the U.S.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.