We’re going nowhere, TikTok CEO reacts to US ban

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

TikTok’s CEO expressed confidence on Wednesday that the company would overcome a legal challenge against newly enacted legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden, which aims to ban the popular short video app used by 170 million Americans.

In a video posted shortly after Biden signed the bill, CEO Shou Zi Chew reassured users, saying, “Rest assured – we aren’t going anywhere.” He asserted that both the facts and the Constitution were on TikTok’s side, expecting to prevail once again.

Biden’s signing of the legislation sets a deadline of January 19 for China-based ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to divest its U.S. assets or face a ban.

However, he retains the option to extend this deadline by three months if ByteDance demonstrates progress. The timing of this deadline coincides closely with Biden’s potential second term against former President Donald Trump.

Chew emphasized that the bill effectively constitutes a ban on TikTok, but affirmed that the platform would continue operating while challenging these restrictions.

The legislation, fueled by concerns among U.S. lawmakers about potential Chinese access to American data, garnered overwhelming support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The ongoing legal battle over TikTok represents a significant battleground in the broader technology dispute between the U.S. and China. TikTok plans to challenge the legislation on First Amendment grounds, with users also expected to pursue legal action.

A previous attempt to ban TikTok in Montana was blocked by a U.S. judge on free speech grounds.

While some experts anticipate the legislation will provide a stronger legal basis for a TikTok ban if ByteDance fails to divest, concerns have been raised about its potential impact on First Amendment rights and excessive government control over social media platforms.

The bill not only threatens TikTok but also provides the White House with new tools to address security threats posed by other foreign-owned apps.

Despite concerns, Biden’s reelection campaign intends to continue using TikTok, while Trump’s campaign has not engaged with the platform. Biden previously signed legislation prohibiting U.S. government employees from using TikTok on government devices.

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