TikTok sell or ban bill becomes law

President Joe Biden today signed a bill into law that forces TikTok to either divest from Chinese parent company ByteDance or face a full ban in the U.S.

What it means. ByteDance must sell TikTok in nine months. That deadline can be extended by 90 days if needed to complete a sale.

If ByteDance doesn’t divest, app stores will no longer legally be allowed to distribute TikTok.

Interestingly, 270 days from today is Jan. 19, 2025, which is one day before the scheduled inauguration of the next U.S. President.

What TikTok is saying. CEO Chew Shou Zi posted a video response, promising to challenge this ban (which he said is unconstitutional) in court, adding, “We aren’t going anywhere.”

TikTok generated $14.7 billion for U.S. small businesses in 2023, according to TikTok’s economic impact report, released earlier this month.

Why we care. TikTok said it has 170 million U.S. users. Brands and businesses will be impacted because they will be unable to reach those people anymore should this TikTok ban go through in 2025. Any TikTok marketing investments would likely need to be redirected to YouTube or Meta properties.

Search and advertising impact. TikTok has increasingly become the starting point for search and discovery among younger users, like Gen Z. TikTok introduced Search Ads in August and added Search Insights in March.