The TikTok Bill Could Finally Become Law This Week

It hasn’t happened yet but the TikTok ban seems imminent.

The Senate advanced a major foreign aid package that includes a provision that could lead to a ban on TikTok on Tuesday, clearing a key procedural hurdle that brings the package one step closer to final passage after a monthslong back and forth with the House over the assistance. 

After the House approved the $95 billion in foreign aid in the form of four individual bills over the weekend, the legislation came to the Senate as a single package that is expected to pass and then head to the president’s desk this week. But how quickly a vote on final passage could occur remains to be seen…

The Senate took a key procedural vote on the package Tuesday afternoon, returning from a scheduled recess to do so. With 80 in favor and 19 votes opposed, the Senate voted to overcome a filibuster, solidifying support for the package. However, the timing of the vote on final passage remained unclear since a single senator can slow the chamber’s progress.

TikTok continues to ask its US users to call their elected officials in a last ditch attempt to salvage the status quo. And now President Trump, whose administration first proposed a ban on TikTok is reversing course and trying to blame this on President Biden.

The idea that Biden is doing this to help Facebook fight the GOP is Trump’s own spin, though I’ve seen lots of similar comments on X. Biden has actually been posting campaign videos on TikTok for several months. He’s also been inviting high profile creators to the White House:

In recent months, some of the biggest TikTok users with accounts boasting millions of followers have visited the White House, visitor logs reveal. Since September alone, some of the most prominent examples include:

  • Jason Linton, a dad who posts wholesome content about his family and whose TikTok account @dadlifejason has 13.8 million followers.
  • Michael Junchaya, (who goes by “Mikey Angelo” on the handle @mrgrandeofficial, 3.5 million followers), a young entertainer who specializes in rap recap videos.
  • Mona Swain (@monaswain, 1.9 million followers), theater enthusiast…

Each of these TikTokkers’ meetings was coordinated by White House deputy director of partnerships, Morgan MacNaughton, who herself has a background with the company.

So it seems the Biden White House likes TikTok or at least finds it useful. 

But the tendency to turn everything into a conspiracy against your side isn’t limited to the right of course. Progressives are simultaneously claiming the bill is an effort by Zionists to silence criticism of Israel.

Newsweek has more examples:

X user @StopZionistHate wrote, “They aren’t trying to ban tiktok. They just want tiktok to be taken over by ownership that they can control, in order to silence criticism of Israel.”

Businessman Gerald Celente wrote, “The Israel Lobby is coming after TikTok b/c that’s the last outlet where Israel can face criticism….”

 X user @SirStevenKJ wrote, “The House passed the bill to control TikTok because it allows criticism of Israel and Ukraine. Literally what it’s about. This will be used to censor X, Truth Social, Rumble, etc.”

They say if you’re not paranoid you’re not paying attention, but I think sometimes you can be paranoid about the wrong things instead of the right ones. In this case, the discussion around TikTok, starting with the Trump administration, has been all about China’s ability to gather information on US users and potentially to dictate how topics are covered on the site. The FBI Director just repeated all of this today.

He said national security officials are concerned that TikTok provides Chinese intelligence services “the ability to collect the data, the ability to control the recommendation algorithm, which means the ability to push CCP narratives, pro-CCP narratives, downplay criticism of the Chinese government, in effect, enlist millions of users as unwitting advocates of CCP propaganda.”

He added that the Chinese government also has “the ability to control the software, which gives the opportunity to technically compromise the devices, the phones, millions and millions of phones.”

Asked what he would say to the millions of people in the United States who regularly use TikTok for business or pleasure and simply don’t care about the perceived risks, Wray said, “My message is, you need to take into account who the Chinese government is, who the Chinese Communist Party is.”

So, yes, please be paranoid about the Chinese Communist Party, which evidence suggests is happy to see Americans die from overdoses while they sell the drugs. But I don’t think there’s much evidence this is the start of a slippery slope toward banning all social media. Even if the bill does pass this week, it could be a while before anything comes of it.

If ByteDance sues to block the implementation of the statute — which it has said it would do — the bill will be taken up by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Isaac Boltansky, director of policy for the financial services firm BTIG.

Boltansky said ByteDance would file a suit no later than this fall. And while the case is under judicial review, the “clock” on any ban is effectively paused, he said. 

Once the D.C. court issues its ruling, whichever side loses is likely to request a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That would forestall the ban by another year — meaning nothing would go into effect until 2026, Boltansky said.

Whatever happens with TikTok this week will just be the start of a long process but hopefully it will be the beginning of the end of looming CCP control over US social media.

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