Is TikTok Getting Banned?

May 7, 2024 Update

TikTok has officially sued the U.S. government on Tuesday, May 7, over the ban bill. TikTok argues that the bill violates the First Amendment. The issue is now up to the to the courts, specifically the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the lawsuit was filed.


President Biden signed a bill Wednesday, April 24, that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban, escalating a massive threat to the company’s US operations. It was approved by the House on Saturday, and by the Senate on Tuesday, April 23.  TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew insists that banning the app will not address security concerns, while parent company Bytedance has stated it has no plans to sell at this time.

The bill that Biden signed gives TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, 270 days to sell TikTok, so by January 19, 2025. Failure to do so would lead to TikTok being prohibited from US app stores. However, Biden could also choose to extend the timeline for 90 days, bringing the timeline to sell to one year, if there’s reason to believe there is a clear path to the divestiture. Keep reading to learn more about the ban bill and future of TikTok!

📱What is the TikTok Ban Bill?

H.R. 7521, or the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, is a federal bill which essentially prevents distributing, maintaining or hosting services for an app that is owned or controlled by a “foreign adversary.” The bill is specifically targeted toward TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, a Chinese technology company.

The bill aims to protect the national security of America and its citizens by banning apps that government officials are concerned could leak important data to Chinese officials. However, the bill is under scrutiny for potentially violating First Amendment rights and is receiving large pushback from many Americans who regularly use TikTok.

The bill is written to give TikTok two choices: find a buyer for TikTok and separate from its Chinese-based parent company, or be banned in the U.S.

📱 What is the current status of the TikTok Ban Bill?

On Wednesday, March 13th, the House of Representatives passed the bill. Now the bill is passed onto the Senate, where it’s unsure whether it will continue to progress or stall. Past efforts to ban TikTok or otherwise control the app have not made any progress past the Senate.

Right now, it’s too soon to know what will happen to H.R. 7521. However, President Biden has said he will sign the bill into law if the Senate passes it.

📱Will TikTok actually be banned in the U.S.?

TikTok has stated they view H.R. 7521 as an existential threat but not anything particularly new, since the social media app has fended off numerous other attempts to put it out of business. Currently, TikTok is already taking measures to prevent the bill from succeeding, like sharing an in-app request for users to contact their representatives about the bill to #KeepTikTok. If the bill continues to progress, it is all but certain that TikTok will try to have a ban overturned in the courts.

Additionally, if H.R. 7521 were to succeed, it would be the first time Congress passes a bill that shuts down a social media platform — which has many concerned about free speech rights being violated. Many large civil rights organizations, like the ACLU, share similar concerns about civil rights and are encouraging the Senate to reject H.R. 7521.

Finally, the bill itself does not necessarily provide a viable path for TikTok to comply, which may hurt its chances at success. The requirement for TikTok to find a non-Chinese buyer is perhaps not even possible, as TikTok is worth tens of billions of dollars. Only the largest tech companies like Google or Meta have the capital to buy, but the prospect of TikTok being acquired by a Big Tech firm raises antitrust concerns, another area the Biden administration has taken a particular interest in.

What would a ban of TikTok actually look like?

Even if H.R. 7521 is passed and the TikTok ban holds, it would not mean an instantaneous death of the app in the U.S. Over 170 million Americans have already downloaded the app, and there’s no way to make the app disappear or force users to delete it.

However, the app would be removed from app stores, which would prevent new users from downloading it and prevent current users from accessing software updates. Over time, this would lead to a slow death, where the app becomes continually more glitchy as patches aren’t available, until it eventually is unusable. Even then, it would still be possible to access it with workarounds like VPNs — which a small but dedicated portion of Americans may do.

How does this affect my brand/organization?

In the short term, brands/organizations and general TikTok users will not see any changes, except potential requests from TikTok to fight the ban. The process of moving a bill through Congress is long, and even if the Senate does pass the bill and the President signs it into law, TikTok will still have 6 months to find a buyer — during which time they will probably also extend the timeline by challenging it in courts.

What should I do to prepare?

Right now, no action is necessary as we don’t have enough information about the future of TikTok in order to act. Below are some initial prompts for long-term planning.

  • Do you have a backup platform that you can transfer the content you’re sharing on TikTok to in the event of a ban?
  • If you’ve built a large audience on TikTok, do you have a plan for how you will encourage users to follow you on other platforms?
  • If you run paid ads on TikTok, do you have a plan for reallocating those dollars to another platform?