Biden supports TikTok divestiture as Trump questions ban

President Joe Biden has expressed his willingness to sign a bill mandating the divestiture of TikTok by its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, amidst concerns raised by Donald Trump regarding the potential ban of the app used by 170 million Americans.

Publication: 09.03.2024 - 16:45
Biden supports TikTok divestiture as Trump questions ban
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The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote next week on the bill, which received unanimous committee approval. The bill requires a two-thirds majority for passage.

"If they pass it, I'll sign it," stated Biden. However, the bill's fate in the Senate remains uncertain, with some senators seeking amendments.

In contrast, Trump, eyeing a presidential comeback, has voiced opposition to banning TikTok, suggesting it would unfairly benefit Facebook. Trump has previously criticized Facebook for suspending his accounts during the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. His stance on the current legislation is unclear, and Meta Platforms has not commented.

The Justice Department has advised that divestiture, rather than a ban, would place the government on stronger legal footing. Mike Pence, former vice president under Trump, supports the House bill, citing concerns over China's influence on American youth.

The proposed legislation would give ByteDance 165 days to sell TikTok. Failure to comply would result in app stores and web hosting services being barred from offering TikTok or any ByteDance-controlled apps.

Trump's 2020 attempts to ban TikTok and WeChat were halted by the courts. Republican Senator Rand Paul highlighted Trump's efforts to protect U.S. TikTok users through a significant company project, questioning the House GOP's alignment with Biden on the ban. Paul argues for the defense of the First Amendment, comparing a TikTok ban to Chinese government actions.

Trump had previously stated TikTok's data practices could potentially allow China to access American personal information for espionage purposes. TikTok denies sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government and contends the House bill effectively bans the app. The outcome of the legislation, especially in an election year, remains uncertain, with Biden's campaign recently joining TikTok, while Trump's campaign has not.

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