TikTok may stop ticking with a potential ban in the U.S.

TikTok Ban
TikTok Ban

President Joe Biden has signed a law banning TikTok in the United States, but what does that actually mean?

Lawmakers finally pushed through the legislation last night after years of flirting with the idea, weighing the app's supposed security risk over its social significance, and the potential free speech violations of a ban.

While users and content creators scramble to salvage their communities and income, some are worried about the potential legal consequences that could come. Others have expressed doubt that the ban will go into effect at all.

Whatever you're feeling, here are the facts you should know about the U.S. TikTok Ban.

Is it illegal to use TikTok?

It is not a crime simply to use TikTok under the new law. The only penalties the legislation threatens are fines against platforms that host the app, such as the Google or Apple stores. Individual users will not be punished for their use of the app, though they may not have access to it.

So, can I still use TikTok?

For now. TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance, has 270 days to sell the platform to an American company, putting the deadline at January 19, 2025. After that point, the site could be forced to block access to users based on their location, much like Pornhub and other adult sites in states that have passed age-verification laws.

What did Biden say about the TikTok ban?

Biden did not address the TikTok ban when he signed it into law Tuesday night. The ban was included in foreign aid bill providing assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, which is considered a priority among U.S. lawmakers. The president only discussed the importance of the aide when approving the ban.

How did TikTok respond to the ban?

TikTok released a statement immediately, declaring the ban "unconstitutional" and vowing to "challenge it in court."

"We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail. The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep U.S. data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation," a spokesperson said.

Is a TikTok ban legal?

It remains unclear if a ban on TikTok is unconstitutional, or how a national lawsuit would play out. A similar law in Montana was blocked after a lawsuit from the company, with a federal court determining the state's ban is likely a "fundamental constitutional violation."

How do TikTokers feel about the ban?

LGBTQ+ TikTokers previously told The Advocate that the ban will have a "disproportionate effect on the queer community" and eliminate "networks of support and activism." Nonbinary content creator and best-selling author Jeffrey Marsh said that "a vibrant, kind and supportive queer community [will] disappear overnight."