When will TikTok be banned in the US?

ByteDance will face nine-month deadline to sell video-sharing platform once bill is signed into law

Explained: The battle over TikTok's future in America

Explained: The battle over TikTok's future in America
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The US took another step towards banning TikTok on Tuesday night as the Senate passed a bill that could force ByteDance to sell the social media platform.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed the bill containing the potential ban, which was part of a $95 billion foreign aid package.

Supporters of a ban have expressed concerns that data from TikTok – which has about 170 million users in the US – could be shared with the Chinese government.

An outright ban in the US, which has more TikTok users than any other nation, would come as a major blow to the company.

TikTok says the bill violates free-speech rights for Americans, while China has accused the US of “unreasonably suppressing” the platform.

Even before the Senate took action, western countries including the UK, France and Belgium banned the app from government phones.

What happens next to TikTok?

TikTok is not yet banned in the US. Instead, the latest actions establish a new timetable for the short-video platform.

ByteDance has have nine months to sell TikTok. If a sale is in progress, it would be given a three-month extension.

The timeline would extend through the 2024 presidential election. This could extend even longer if lawsuits are filed, as experts and TikTok both say the ban is a breach of the First Amendment.

Shortly after Mr Biden signed the bill, TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew pledged the company would take the issue to court.

“Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere," Mr Chew said on TikTok.

Should the timetable progress without any legal challenges, which is unlikely, then the company would be forced to sell within nine months or face a nationwide ban in the US.

These are the places that have banned TikTok

These are the countries that have bans on TikTok

If TikTok is sold, who could buy it?

Selling TikTok would be no easy feat.

TikTok's US business could be valued at $40 billion to $50 billion, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated last year.

Such a large cost would price many potential buyers out of the market.

Steve Mnuchin, who was Treasury secretary under former president Donald Trump, said he is putting together a group of investors to buy TikTok.

Mr Trump tried to ban TikTok in 2020 but the move was blocked by US courts.

Former Activision chief executive Bobby Kotick has also considered buying TikTok, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Canadian businessman and Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary is also assembling a group to potentially buy the app.

Any unlikely bid by other tech companies such as Meta or Google would probably be blocked by anti-trust regulators in the US.

There is also the possibility that no one will or even could buy TikTok, which would bring about a US ban.

What countries have taken action against TikTok?

Numerous countries have raised concerns over TikTok's ties to Beijing and its global hold over user data.

India and Pakistan have already banned TikTok.

It also faces increasing scrutiny in the EU over its TikTok Like Rewards programme in France and Spain, which pays users to spend time on the app.

The European Commission has already opened proceedings against TikTok to consider if it has broken EU law.

Canada and Australia banned TikTok on government-owned devices last year, while the Taliban banned the app in Afghanistan in 2022.

Updated: April 25, 2024, 4:14 AM