Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

House passes bill saying ByteDance must sell or spin off TikTok or face a ban

Last updated

The US House of Representatives has passed a combination bill related to sanctions on other countries, such as Russia that includes language that could force the sale or divestiture of TikTok.

Legislators have framed the measure in such a way as to downplay concerns about a ban on the popular social service. Instead, the move aims to force Chinese company ByteDance to divest itself from TikTok, or sell it to another entity.

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi said the bill was "not really about TikTok, it's about ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok and is indisputably controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." ByteDance has repeatedly disputed that claim.

A previous measure along the same lines was passed last year. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have also proposed various measures to put pressure on ByteDance to sell the social media service.

So far, these efforts haven't mustered enough support. The last such bill the House passed on this topic remains stalled in the Senate.

However, the new proposal is part of a larger bill addressing, among other things, aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza. This will make it tougher for the Senate to reject the bill outright, or remove only the ByteDance-related sanctions.

The new bill extends the amount of time ByteDance would be allowed to divest itself or sell TikTok to a year, which has helped the measure win approval of some Democrats who found the previous six-month deadline unrealistic.

The Senate will not take up the bill immediately, as it is on recess for the Passover holiday. If the ByteDance provisions remain in the final bill and it passes the Senate, it would go to the president's desk for signature.

President Biden has already indicated that he would sign legislation forcing the sale or divestiture of TikTok by ByteDance. This does not ensure that he would sign this particular multi-faceted bill, however.