TikTok Warns US Ban Could Violate Free Speech and Hurt Economy

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Key Takeaways

  • TikTok argues that banning it in the U.S. would violate the free speech rights of its 170 million American users.
  • The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly to potentially ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, cuts ties with China, with the bill also tying in significant foreign aid measures.
  • TikTok warns of negative impacts on the U.S. economy and introduces a new app similar to Instagram amidst ongoing legislative challenges.

TikTok said its potential ban in the United States would infringe on the “free speech” rights of its 170 million American users.

This comes in response to the US House of Representatives’ recent vote to ban TikTok unless ByteDance, the app’s parent company, severs its connections with China.

The proposed legislation was part of a larger US foreign policy package. It included a $61 billion allocation of foreign aid to Ukraine and funds for Israel and Taiwan.

The House voted 360 to 58 in favor of the updated divest-or-ban bill. The Senate expected to cast their votes next week. According to BBC, US President Joe Biden has signaled his intent to sign the bill into law.

Reacting to this development, TikTok wrote on X that the US is using humanitarian assistance to cover the bill and force it into law. The company warns that the move could affect the US economy, as TikTok brings $24 million annually to this country only.


Should the bill pass, ByteDance will be given a nine-month window to sell its stake, with a potential three-month extension if a sale is underway or it faces a ban.

Is ByteDance Linked to China?

ByteDance, despite being founded by Chinese entrepreneurs in 2012, maintains that it is not a Chinese company. It cites that 60% of its ownership comes from global investment firms. Despite being banned in China, TikTok has amassed a billion users in just five years.

However, the US is concerned about Beijing’s increasing control over private companies and the potential influence the Chinese Communist Party may have over ByteDance and the data it collects.

TikTok Launches Instagram Rival

Amid these challenges, TikTok has started testing its new Instagram-like app, Notes, in Australia and Canada.

TikTok didn’t say whether this move is connected to the potential ban it faces in the United States. However, the launch of Notes could help the social media giant ramp up a good user base should TikTok get knocked out of the US.