TikTok has promised a court battle over a new law that threatens to ban it in the US with the app’s boss saying “we aren’t going anywhere”.

US President Joe Biden approved the law that states the platform will be blocked if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, does not sell it within nine months.

Politicians there are worried the company could share user data with the Chinese government, despite repeated assurances from TikTok that it would not.


The bill was approved by the US Senate on Tuesday as part of a $95bn (€88.7bn) aid package for Ukraine and Israel.

President Biden signed it off early on Wednesday with TikTok’s boss swiftly hitting back in a video on the platform.

A man looks at an iPhone which displays the TikTok logo. Image: M4OS Photos / Alamy

“Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere. The facts and the Constitution are on our side and we expect to prevail again,” said chief executive Shou Zi Chew.

A statement by the company added: “This unconstitutional law is a TikTok ban, and we will challenge it in court.

“We believe the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and we will ultimately prevail.”

The legal challenge could argue a ban would deprive the app’s 170 million US users of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

The law could also face opposition from TikTok creators who rely on it for their income, while China has previously said it would oppose a forced sale.

Irish Independent Technology Editor Adrian Weckler told Moncrieff geo-politics is playing a role here.

“It’s complicated by the fact that ByteDance, the Chinese owner, says it doesn’t want to sell and it’s complicated even further by the fact that the Chinese government says that this whole thing is a geo-political outrage and there’s no way ByteDance should have to sell it,” he said.

“So there’s a large dollop of geo-political tensions going on here as well.”

‘TikTok in Dublin’

Mr Weckler said the fact that the Chinese government is involved is not great look.

“If you are one of those who suspects TikTok of actually being potentially under Chinese control, you’re now saying, ‘Why would it matter if the Chinese government said A, B or C? Surely you’re independent?’

“The fact that the Chinese government appears to have actually some meaningful say in all of this doesn’t look great for TikTok”.

Mr Weckler said the move could also have implications closer to home.

“TikTok employs 3,000 people in Dublin, it’s one of Dublin’s biggest tech employers,” he said

“That has maybe, maybe, influenced the Irish Government’s response to all of this.

“Last year Ireland’s own National Cyber Security Centre… said TikTok was actually a bit of a risk and it effectively issued a ban on any State employees – public sector employees – having TikTok on their phones.

“So there is a suspicion here that there is a problem with TikTok as well”.

Mr Weckler added that “hard evidence is really, really thin on the ground”.

Main image: An iPhone showing TikTok and other application icons on-screen in August 2020. Image: Wachiwit / Alamy