What You Need to Know About the TikTok Ban

All of the information you want about the TikTok ban: Responses to Your Queries


TikTok is having trouble in the US again. This week, Congress passed a bill to help other countries that includes a ban on the famous social media app until it stops being owned by Chinese companies. It was signed today by President Biden, but TikTok won’t disappear from your phone all of a sudden. Read this to learn more.

Do you think TikTok will be restricted in the US?

Still not yet. There was a countdown that began when Biden signed the bill. The company ByteDance has 270 days to sell TikTok to a business that is not run by a “foreign adversary” or the app will be banned in the US. The president can give an extra 90 days if a deal is close to being reached as the 270-day limit approaches. (Legal problems could make things take even longer; more on that below.)

What does a foreign enemy look like? 

The US lists foreign governments and non-government people as enemies if they “have engaged in a long-term pattern or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.” At the moment, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and the Maduro government in Venezuela are on that list. China is where ByteDance is based.

What does it matter to the US that China owns a video app?

Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, told Lester Holt of NBC that TikTok is a “national security concern” because ByteDance is “beholden to the Chinese government” and could force TikTok to give Beijing information about Americans. 

Wray said that ByteDance could use the information it gathers and its recommendation system “for all sorts of influence operations.” TikTok users might not mind that China knows what videos they watched or liked. That’s a big worry as the US election season starts up again. It could also be a problem for US-owned services, as we saw in 2016.

The US used a similar argument when it banned Huawei equipment and limited the amount of AI chips it could send to China.


TikTok has said for a long time that it doesn’t follow directions from Beijing. No other company in our field has taken the steps we have to protect you. In a video message today, TikTok CEO Shou Chew said, “We have spent billions of dollars to protect your data and keep our platform free from outside interference.”

How does a ban work? 

The bill goes after services that spread, manage, or update any apps that are thought to be run by a foreign enemy. In this case, that means app shops like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, as well as the web hosting services that keep these apps and their websites live. Apple and Google are likely to take TikTok off of their app stores if ByteDance doesn’t divest. TikTok may also lose the ability to run the app on US computers. Some details haven’t been worked out yet. Companies that keep TikTok live could be fined up to $5,000 per user who breaks the rules.

Could I get in trouble if I still have TikTok on my phone after the ban starts?

It’s not allowed by the bill for the US Attorney General to “pursue enforcement…against an individual” through a foreign adversary-controlled app. It’s more possible that TikTok will stop working on your phone because more and more services are going away.

How do I keep all of my videos?

Have a big collection of TikTok videos? Download all to your device.

If TikTok is sold, what will happen to my personal information?

People who want to buy TikTok are probably most interested in its technology and the huge amount of data it has gathered from its users. It’s said that if the product is free, you are the product. Not sure where that information will end up? This is how you get rid of TikTok.

Who would buy TikTok to get around the ban? 

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Activision CEO Bobby Kotick are two people who might buy the company. But neither of them has the money to buy TikTok on their own; they would need a group of people to help them.

We tried this with Microsoft in 2020, right? 

Yes, former President Trump did sign an order in 2020 that made the same kinds of requests. It was found that Microsoft might buy TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In the end, those plans didn’t work out. Later, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the event “the strangest thing I ever worked on.” Then, President Biden took back Trump’s executive order but ordered his staff to come up with ways to stop a foreign enemy like China from taking user data from apps like TikTok or WeChat.

So Trump and Biden agree on this point?

No. Although he issued an executive order and said in 2020 that “you can’t be controlled, for security reasons, by China,” Trump is now against a ban. But he cares less about meddling from other countries and more about how a ban will help Meta and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerberg will make twice as much money again. I don’t want Facebook to do better because they lied in the last election. They are an enemy of the people!” In March, Trump made a post on his Truth Social network.

Trump and Zuckerberg have had a lot of problems over the years. That year, he said that Facebook “was always anti-Trump.” After the riots at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Meta banned Trump from its platforms. In 2023, they let him back on Facebook and Instagram.

Does TikTok want to fight the ban? 

TikTok said in a statement on Wednesday that the ban is against the Constitution and that they would “challenge it in court.” It talks about how a ban would “devastate” 7 million companies and shut down 170 million Americans.

Chew said in his video message that the ban is “ironic” because TikTok’s freedom of speech comes from the same American ideals that make the US a center of freedom. That’s why so many people use TikTok every day: it gives regular Americans a strong way to be seen and heard.

Chew wants people to use TikTok and make movies about what it means to them.

News on April 26 said that ByteDance would not sell TikTok without its code. Reports from Reuters say that ByteDance would rather shut down TikTok in the US than sell it. 

Is it against the Constitution to ban TikTok?

Of course, that’s up to the courts. But TikTok can point to a law in Montana that made the app illegal on all devices, not just government-owned ones. US District Judge Donald Molloy stopped that law from going into action before it even started in late 2023. He said it “oversteps state power” and breaks the Constitution in several ways. Montana has made a case.

“The facts and the constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again,” Chew said.

Can a VPN help me get around this ban?

Could be. Just ask people who are banned from Pornhub: VPNs are often the first thing people try to get around the ban. Streamers also use them to watch Netflix shows and movies that are blocked in their country, but the results aren’t always good. People who can’t get to the TikTok app might be able to connect to a VPN (we have some suggestions here) and use TikTok on the web. For example, The Wall Street Journal says that if TikTok has to delete US-registered accounts, you could get in trouble. This means that it probably won’t work in the long term.

What other apps are there besides TikTok?

Check here 

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