TikTok Ban Bill Reportedly Faces Slower Senate Journey — Including a Hearing and Possible Changes — As the App’s Media Blitz Continues

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A new report suggests that the TikTok ban bill is facing a slower-than-expected journey through the Senate. Photo Credit: Jonathan Kemper

Following the House’s quick passage of a bill that would compel ByteDance to sell or shut down TikTok in the U.S., senators are reportedly preparing for a lengthy debate on the measure.

This update in the multifaceted discussion about TikTok’s stateside future entered the media spotlight in a Wall Street Journal report. After the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, in early March, immediate evidence suggested that the bill’s path through the Senate would perhaps be slightly slower.

Nevertheless, a material delay appeared unlikely at the outset; senators on both sides of the aisle expressed support for the measure, which could potentially apply to non-TikTok companies and platforms as well. On the other side of the equation, different senators voiced concerns about the bill’s scope, and TikTok, far from throwing in the towel, urged its users to contact lawmakers and launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.

The latter is zeroing in on a number of battleground states in a critical election year. And it’s against this backdrop, with many young adults opposed to a TikTok ban, that the bill’s facing a seemingly lengthier journey in the Senate.

Expanding on reports that circulated last month, the Journal indicated that Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell “will make the push for changes” to the bill. That could reportedly include language pivots designed to render the proposal more difficult to overturn if it’s signed into law – possibly by targeting other social services’ practices in the text and/or by extending the currently six-month divestment window that would be afforded to ByteDance.

Of course, any alterations may well fuel additional debate yet or otherwise affect the bill’s current support, referring to that of congressmembers and the White House. Moreover, Senator Cantwell is per the mentioned outlet planning “to hold at least one hearing.”

These and adjacent steps would, needless to say, take time, and proponents of the bill as written worry that modifications could “significantly delay” or permanently derail the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, per the Journal.

In any event, the exact schedule of this reported hearing and possible modifications isn’t clear. Beyond its previously highlighted advert campaign, TikTok recently debuted the Youth Council, an initiative that it says “further strengthens how we build our app to be safe for teens by design.”

TikTok, long the subject of criticism over its impact on minors, is grappling with fresh investigations from the FTC and the EU. For obvious reasons, related headlines are soaking up ample media spotlight. But following Universal Music’s TikTok exit, qualms expressed by the NMPA, Sony Music, and others could be indicative of an imminent confrontation between the app and the wider industry.