US passes bill that could ban TikTok despite resistance from Trump

  • The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill, led by Republicans, mandating ByteDance to divest TikTok within 165 days or face a ban in the U.S., with the bill now moving to the Senate where its future is uncertain.
  • Despite previous support, former President Donald Trump publicly opposed the bill to avoid alienating young voters and giving more power to what he considers rival companies like Facebook.
  • TikTok responded to the vote, planning to lobby the Senate against the bill, arguing it’s unfounded and would harm businesses, creators, and jeopardise over 300,000 U.S. jobs.

On March 13, local time, according to multiple media reports, the US House of Representatives passed a bill requiring ByteDance to divest TikTok within the next 165 days, otherwise TikTok will face a ban in the United States.

Under the leadership of Congressional Republicans, this bill, named “The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act”, passed with 352 votes in favour versus 65 votes against, and will be sent to the Senate for consideration. The difficulty of passing this bill in the Senate is expected to increase, with some senators having ambivalent attitudes. Previously, President Biden had stated that he would sign the bill if it passed both the House and the Senate.

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Donald Trump changed his stance, publicly opposing the bill

However, former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump changed his stance on Monday, publicly opposing the bill, stating he did not want to alienate young voters or give more power to what he sees as his arch-enemy, Facebook.

In response to the voting results, the official TikTok account, TikTokPolicy, posted a statement on the social platform X (formerly Twitter) on March 13th, stating: The process was secretive, and the only reason the bill was forcibly passed is that it is a ban. We hope the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their voters, and realise the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and 170 million Americans who use our service.

TikTok would not change its way of protecting user data

Additionally, according to internal memos cited by multiple media outlets, TikTok informed its employees after the House vote on March 13th that, even if the House passed the “ban if not sold” bill against the company, TikTok would not change its way of protecting user data. TikTok also stated in the memo that the company plans to lobby the US Senate not to pass the bill.

“This is an unfounded ban,” said TikTok spokesperson Jodi Seth. “We hope the Senate will consider the relevant facts, listen to the opinions of voters, and realise its impact on businesses and users.” Furthermore, although some senators have refused meetings, TikTok CEO Shou Chew has traveled to Washington to lobby again.

Shou Chew also responded to the bill, saying, “This bill gives more power to other social media companies,” “It will also take billions of dollars from the pockets of creators and many small and micro businesses,” “putting over 300,000 American jobs at risk.”

‘This practice will ultimately backfire on the United States itself’

Before the vote on March 13, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “This practice of resorting to bullying when unable to win in fair competition disturbs the normal business operations, damages international investors’ confidence in the investment environment, and destroys the normal international economic and trade order, and will ultimately backfire on the United States itself.”

Earlier, on March 7, local time, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the bill with a vote of 50 to 0. Earlier that same day, TikTok pushed a pop-up window to its US users, urging them to call their local Congress members to demand the revocation of the TikTok divestiture bill. The pop-up accused the US government of depriving Americans of freedom of speech and harming the livelihoods of TikTok creators, with TikTok now being used by over 170 million Americans. Subsequently, according to Reuters, Democratic and Republican lawmakers stated that their offices received a large number of calls from TikTok’s young users opposing the bill.

Biden’s previous actions also gave TikTok hope. During this year’s Super Bowl (the annual championship game of the National Football League), Biden’s presidential campaign team opened an account on TikTok and released a Super Bowl-themed campaign video, interpreted as Biden’s attempt to connect with more young people in America.


Chloe Chen

Chloe Chen is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and had various working experiences in the finance and fintech industry. Send tips to

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