Biden threatens to ban TikTok unless it separates from its Chinese parent (and US social stocks pop)

Friday, March 17, 2023 by Snacks
The clock’s ticking (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

The clock’s ticking (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

That escalated quickly… The TikTok-ban saga, which just a few months ago seemed to have been forgotten in a dusty corner, has intensified big-time. Earlier this month, President Biden supported a bill that would give him the power to ban (or force a sale of) TikTok in the US. POTUS urged Congress to pass the bill because of national-security concerns. This week:

  • Biden time: TikTok said that the Biden admin threatened to ban it in the US unless the popular app separates itself from its Chinese parent, ByteDance.

  • For You rage: Biden demanded that ByteDance agree to spin off TikTok. While ByteDance owns other apps — including Douyin, the Chinese (censored) version of TikTok — losing TikTok and its 100M American users would be a massive blow.

  • Endless scroll: Americans spend, on average, nearly an hour a day on TikTok — more than on either Facebook or Instagram.

Interesting timing… It may not be a coincidence that Biden threatened a Tik ban within a day of the Chinese government announcing an overhaul to strengthen its control over its tech sector. China’s Communist Party set up a new bureau to mine data for economic growth, and established a central technology commission to boost the party’s oversight of the sector. Chinese President Xi Jinping also encouraged the country’s private companies to “fight” alongside the Communist Party. The US is worried TikTok could share American data with China.


Bad news for one is great news for some… Meta, Snap, and Google stock surged after reports of an increasingly likely TikTok ban. The disappearance of TikTok in the US would be a dream come true for Instagram, Snap, and YouTube. Despite their efforts to replicate TikTok’s success (think: Instagram Reels, Snap Spotlight, YouTube Shorts), they’re still losing engagement (and advertiser $$) to Gen Z mega favorite TikTok.

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