Biden Signs TikTok Ban Into Law; ByteDance Says It Won't Sell The Platform

ByteDance denies TikTok sale amid U.S. ban threat; legal battle looms; app banned in multiple countries.

TikTok Ban

ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, has stated that it currently has no intentions of selling the popular social media platform, despite new legislation mandating it to either relinquish ownership within a year or face a ban in the United States. In response to speculation regarding a potential sale, ByteDance posted a message on Toutiao, a Chinese social media platform it owns, refuting such claims as "untrue." The company emphasized that it does not have any immediate plans to offload TikTok.

This statement from ByteDance follows President Joe Biden's recent signing of a law requiring TikTok to either divest or risk being banned in the U.S. Additionally, just a day prior, TikTok publicly announced its intention to challenge the new legislation in court. TikTok's CEO, Shou Zi Chew, expressed confidence in their legal position, citing past successful legal battles, such as the thwarting of Montana's attempt to ban the app last November.

The clash between TikTok, ByteDance, and U.S. lawmakers underscores the escalating tension surrounding the fate of the app, renowned for its addictive content consumption experience. Concerns over ByteDance's ties to China, particularly apprehensions about potential data sharing with the Chinese government, have fueled the push for regulatory action. Senator Mark Warner articulated these concerns on CBS Face The Nation, emphasizing the national security risks associated with allowing a platform with significant user data to be potentially influenced by a foreign government.

"The idea that we would give the Communist Party this much of a propaganda tool, as well as the ability to scrape 170 million Americans' personal data, it is a national security risk." 

ByteDance's rebuttal on Toutiao included a screenshot of a headline from The Information, a tech-focused publication, suggesting that ByteDance was exploring TikTok sale options without its algorithm. In response, ByteDance dismissed the headline as a "rumor," stamping it with the Chinese character for the same. TikTok, in a statement to CBS News, asserted the inaccuracy of The Information's story and reiterated the predetermined outcome of the legislation, namely, a ban on TikTok.

TikTok's challenges extend beyond the United States, as it faces bans in multiple countries and restrictions on government-issued devices due to concerns regarding privacy and cybersecurity. India, where the app has been banned since 2021, and Canada, where federal government devices cannot have TikTok installed, are among the countries with partial or full prohibitions.

Moreover, TikTok voluntarily withdrew from the Hong Kong market following the implementation of China's national security law.