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TikTok Ban Bill Becomes Law, Gives TikTok 9 Months To Sell

The U.S. Senate passed a multi-billion dollar package on Tuesday that included foreign aid alongside legislation that forces TikTok to separate from its Beijing-based parent company within a year — or face a national ban. President Biden made the law official, signing it on Wednesday.

Prompted by national security concerns, the bill gives TikTok’s owner ByteDance nine months to sell the popular social media platform, which boasts over 150 million users in the U.S. ByteDance could get an additional three months to complete the order if a TikTok sale is in progress, bringing the maximum time that TikTok has to be sold or be banned to a year.

TikTok is still guaranteed to be available throughout this year’s election cycle; January 2025 is the earliest that a ban could start.

TikTok supporters outside the US Capitol in March. Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

An earlier version of the TikTok ban passed the House of Representatives in March but stalled in the Senate. That version only gave TikTok six months to comply with separating from ByteDance.

Related: Is TikTok Getting Banned In the U.S.? Here’s What We Know So Far

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives decided to incorporate the TikTok bill into the $95 billion high-priority package last week to up the chances that the bill would pass in the Senate this time.

It worked: The Senate voted to pass the bill 79-18 Tuesday evening. President Biden indicated that he would sign it into law and did so Wednesday.

TikTok has long denied that it is sharing American data with China and is already preparing to counteract the bill on free speech or First Amendment grounds.

“At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” wrote Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, in a memo sent to employees on Saturday obtained by The Associated Press. “This is the beginning, not the end of this long process.”

As of last month, TikTok is also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over its data access practices.

Related: Kevin O’Leary Wants to Buy TikTok — But Says It’s Worth Much Less Than Last Year’s Valuation

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