The long-discussed TikTok “ban” just took a big legal step towards becoming a reality. It also took a big step towards a courtroom. The recently passed bipartisan national security bill signed into law by President Biden included legislation forcing TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the social media platform lest it be banned in the U.S. entirely. But don’t worry about losing access to the site’s videos just yet. The company says it will go to court to have the law overturned.

And, despite some reports that ByteDance is considering selling to some degree, a Variety report confirms that the company affirms will not sell TikTok.

The white TikTok logo on a black screen with its name below

The recent $95 billion dollar national security bill that provided funds to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan also included a piece of legislation called Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. The portion of the bill “prohibits distributing, maintaining, or providing internet hosting services for a foreign adversary controlled application.” If there were any questions who this bill is specifically targeting it only cites TikTok and ByteDance by name.

The given reason by politicians for the law’s inclusion in the larger bill is one of national security. Despite only a small amount of evidence the Chinese-based ByteDance has ever done so, officials believe the company is following a Chinese law that requires TikTok to sharing private user data with the Chinese government. Meanwhile others have also noted TikTok is a natural rival of Facebook, which has previously spent big dollars lobbying congress to take action against TikTok.

The legislation gives the company nine months to sell TikTok. President Biden can also extend them 30 more days to find a buyer. If ByteDance doesn’t sell the social media platform TikTok will be officially banned in the United States. Before any of that happens though the legality of the bill will head before a judge. ByteDance had previously said it intended to sue the government and has now done so, claiming the ban to be unconstitutional. TikTok shares:

Congress has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning TikTok: a vibrant online forum for protected speech and expression used by 170 million Americans to create, share, and view videos over the Internet. For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban, and bars every American from participating in a unique online community with more than 1 billion people worldwide.

How long will that take for this case to make its way into a courtroom? We don’t know. But for at least nine months we have a pretty good idea where you’ll find lots of video updates about its status on the court’s docket.

Originally published April 24, 2024.