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 March 8, 2024

Biden could help ban TikTok despite his campaign using it

The White House has expressed support for bipartisan legislation in Congress aimed at effectively banning TikTok, the popular social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, within the United States due to national security concerns regarding data usage and storage.

The proposed legislation mandates ByteDance to divest the app over these security apprehensions or face prohibition.

The concern

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre welcomed the step, highlighting the administration's long-standing concerns about TikTok's national security risks. President Biden had previously signed a bill in 2022 that banned the app on government devices.

Despite these security risks, President Biden's reelection campaign recently joined TikTok under the handle "BidenHQ," aiming to engage younger voters, who have shown less enthusiasm toward supporting Biden in the upcoming November elections.

The administration does not view the proposed legislation as an outright ban on TikTok but rather as a measure to ensure that ownership does not pose risks to national security.

The bipartisan bill

The bipartisan bill, titled the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, grants the president the authority to ban TikTok by prohibiting apps controlled by ByteDance from being available on app stores or websites in the U.S. unless they sever ties with ByteDance.

Jean-Pierre emphasized the bill's focus on national security, asserting the need to prevent potential harm. ByteDance has not responded to requests for comment on the matter.

TikTok, however, believes the legislation aims to effectively ban the app, expressing concerns about potential violations of First Amendment rights and detrimental impacts on small businesses.

Biden's campaign on TikTok

While the White House does not utilize TikTok directly, it collaborates with influencers on the platform, aiming to engage with a broader audience.

The Biden campaign has defended its use of TikTok as a means to connect with voters, highlighting advanced safety measures undertaken while utilizing the platform. Discussions continue between the White House and lawmakers to ensure the legislation aligns with legal standards.

Efforts to address potential legal challenges from TikTok are anticipated, as the app had previously sued the Trump administration in 2020 after an executive order attempted to ban it, resulting in a federal judge blocking the ban.

The White House remains committed to engaging with the American people on platforms like TikTok while addressing national security concerns.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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