US Gives TikTok an Ultimatum: Sell or Wave American Market Goodbye

TikTok might be on its way out of America if it does not separate from its ties to the communist Chinese government.

After House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-AL) maneuvered to include a TikTok ultimatum in a bipartisan foreign aid package, President Joe Biden signed H.R.815 Wednesday. The foreign aid spending bill forces TikTok’s  Chinese-controlled parent company, ByteDance to divest itself from TikTok, or risk being banned from the U.S. The legislation also penalizes app stores and web hosting services that carry foreign adversary-controlled apps or websites to American users barring divestiture. The law applies not just to Chinese-controlled apps, but also to those controlled by Russia, Iran and North Korea.

The new law empowers Biden to effectively block TikTok from doing business in the U.S. if ByteDance does not sell it to a company not based out of the forenamed countries.  The legislation gives TikTok nine months to decide whether or not to divest, which ends notably just after the 2024 presidential election. Biden, who endorsed the TikTok provision, can even grant an additional three-month grace period.

Biden, however, will have to do more than sign a bill to prove he is serious about banning TikTok. As MRC has repeatedly noted, the president has actively used TikTok for his 2024 presidential campaign. To date, he has posted 149 TikTok videos even though he issued an executive order two years ago barring federal employees from using the app on government-issued devices.

“Biden wants to have it both ways,” MRC wrote in a statement. “He wants to run out in front of the parade to eliminate a serious security threat from America’s biggest adversary while simultaneously using TikTok in a lame attempt to lure back voters who have grown tired of his failed policies.”

When legislation targeting foreign adversary apps was first introduced by the House, in March, MRC President Brent Bozell came out in support of the bill. “It is absolutely correct and necessary for TikTok to divest itself of any control from the communist Chinese government in China if it wants to do business in the United States,” he said.

While the bill puts great emphasis on national security concerns associated with the communist Chinese government-tied TikTok app, some Republicans and free speech advocates fear that it could be abused in ways that may hinder freedom of speech with regard to other platforms.

The law will fine violating app stores and web hosting services $5,000 per user for violations of the provision. X owner Elon Musk and Reps. Thomas Massie (R- WV) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have voiced concern that if the legislation is abused, it could lead to more online censorship.

In an interview with Newsmax’s First Edition, MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider addressed similar concerns about government overreach and abuse. He said critics were “right to be concerned especially with Biden sitting there in the white house with all the 25-year-olds who are pulling the strings and moving his mouth and lips.”

Schneider added, however, that “under our constitution, the president is the one who controls our foreign policy and right now China is such a threat to America that they are actively infiltrating America both with troops and with data, scouring the internet for all our information. They are working aggressively to control us and TikTok is their number one tool and it’s got to be stopped.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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