US Senator Says TikTok Divestiture Period Could Be Extended to One Year — Putting a ‘Ban’ Into 2025

TikTok divestiture
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TikTok divestiture
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Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

The chair of the US Senate Commerce Committee said that the TikTok divestiture period could be extended to one year, pushing a potential ‘ban’ into 2025.

After the US House of Representatives voted an overwhelming 352-65 last month in favor of giving TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance approximately six months to divest its US TikTok assets or face a ban, the Senate has been more meticulous in its decision.

To that end, Reuters reports that Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell said the idea of extending the deadline to one year has been heavily discussed. “That would be a good component to guarantee success,” said Cantwell. “We’re talking to our colleagues; people have questions.”

Cantwell said she would be meeting Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner this week to develop a “game plan on how to proceed.” She reiterated that while it was still possible that the Senate could vote in favor of the House bill, it was more likely they would want to “make the bill stronger and put it on a better legal footing.”

TikTok asserts that an all-out ban would “violate the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans,” but US lawmakers have insisted that’s not the case if the bill is written properly. Namely, the “ban” is contingent on ByteDance’s willingness to divest TikTok in the US; failure to do so would require web services and app stores like Google and Apple to no longer allow TikTok for download to its US users.

The topic of TikTok has become a major issue in Washington, with the platform urging its users to flood lawmakers with calls opposing the legislation. Lawmakers on both the left and right, as well as President Biden, have stressed that TikTok continues to pose a national security risk as long as it remains under Chinese ownership.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this week he supported a divestiture. “America’s greatest strategic rival is threatening our security right here on US soil in tens of millions of American homes.”

TikTok says it has spent over $1.5 billion on efforts to “protect US data” and “house it in the US.” The company has also spent millions in the last few months on campaign efforts in its favor in politically advantageous states ahead of the US elections.