'We aren't going anywhere': TikTok vows to fight US ban law in courts

TikTok's CEO has vowed to fight in the courts to overturn a newly signed US law that could see the popular app banned due to allegations it is controlled by the Chinese government.

"Rest assured — we aren't going anywhere," CEO Shou Zi Chew said on Wednesday in a video posted moments after Biden signed the bill that gives China-based ByteDance 270 days to divest TikTok's US assets or face a ban.

"Make no mistake, this is a ban. A ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice," he said.

"Politicians may say otherwise, but don't get confused. Many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is the ultimate goal."

Chew called the move "ironic" given that the "freedom of expression on TikTok reflects the same American values that make the United States a beacon of freedom."

"We will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side," he told the platform users.

The ban measure was included in a $95 billion foreign aid package, including military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The bill, which could trigger the rare step of barring a company from operating in the US market, passed the Senate by a 79-18 vote three days after it cleared the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support.

Biden's campaign to keep using TikTok

Ironically, President Joe Biden's re-election campaign plans to continue using TikTok, according to a campaign official.

"A fragmented media environment requires us to show up and meet voters where they are — and that includes online. TikTok is one of many places we're making sure our content is being seen by voters," said a Biden campaign official, who declined to be named.

The campaign will use "enhanced security measures" while using the app, the official said.

Biden himself signed legislation in late 2022 that barred US government employees from using TikTok on government phones.

His campaign staff, however, are not employed by the government and do not deal with national security issues, so they are allowed to have the app on their phones, campaign officials had previously said.

The Biden campaign account on TikTok, @bidenhq, has posted close to 120 videos and has more than 306,000 followers, and routinely posts videos of Biden there, even as the White House says TikTok causes "legitimate national security concerns."

Under China's control

Ahead of the vote, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that TikTok's parent company ByteDance is "beholden to the Chinese government", which is "attempting to steal our AI and hack American technology every day."

Wray said Americans must consider TikTok's "power, access, capability, control" to be in the hands of the Chinese government and intelligence service.

Under the bill, ByteDance would have to sell the app or be excluded from Apple and Google's app stores in the United States.

According to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, likely buyers for TikTok would be Microsoft or Oracle.

TikTok, for years, has been in the crosshairs of American authorities, who say the platform allows Beijing to snoop on users in the United States.

The bill passed by Congress also gives the US president the authority to designate other applications as a threat to national security if they are controlled by a country deemed hostile.

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, formerly Twitter, came out last week against banning TikTok, saying "doing so would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression."


Source: TRT