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TikTok CEO Confident of Overcoming US Ban: ‘We’re Here to Stay’

 |  April 24, 2024

TikTok’s Chief Executive Officer, Shou Zi Chew, expressed firm confidence in the company’s ability to overcome legal hurdles posed by President Joe Biden’s latest move to block the popular short video app in the United States.

Following President Biden’s signing of legislation aimed at compelling China-based ByteDance to divest TikTok’s U.S. assets within 270 days, Chew reassured the app’s 170 million American users that TikTok is here to stay. “Rest assured – we aren’t going anywhere,” Chew asserted in a video message posted immediately after Biden’s endorsement of the bill, as reported by Reuters.

The legislation, signed into law by Biden, sets a January 19 deadline for ByteDance to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations or face a ban, effectively thrusting the app into the center of a geopolitical tug-of-war between Washington and Beijing. Notably, Biden retains the option to extend this deadline by three months should ByteDance demonstrate tangible progress in divestiture efforts.

The battle over TikTok’s fate is not new to the political arena, with former President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban the app thwarted by legal challenges in 2020. Now, as the Biden administration ramps up its efforts, TikTok vows to contest the ban on First Amendment grounds, with users expected to join legal action in defense of the platform’s free speech rights.

Read more: TikTok Updates Data Usage Regulations To Fit EU Laws

Despite widespread concerns among U.S. lawmakers about potential data privacy and national security risks associated with TikTok’s Chinese ownership, the American Civil Liberties Union warns that banning or mandating divestiture could set a dangerous precedent of excessive government control over social media platforms.

However, legal experts suggest that the new legislation strengthens the Biden administration’s position to enforce a ban should ByteDance fail to comply with divestiture requirements. Should ByteDance falter, major app stores operated by tech giants like Apple and Google would be legally barred from offering TikTok, effectively severing its access to American audiences.

Beyond TikTok, the legislation grants the White House expanded authority to target other foreign-owned apps deemed security threats, signaling a broader crackdown on digital platforms with ties to adversarial nations.

While the bill’s proponents argue it bolsters national security efforts, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden voices concerns over potential abuse of authority, cautioning against infringements on Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Source: Reuters