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Joe Biden says he would sign bill that would force a sale or ban of TikTok

Support for the measure is quickly growing

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

TikTok’s future is looking increasingly uncertain as support grows for a new bill that would force the company to sell itself or face a ban in the United States. Now, President Joe Biden has come out in support of the measure, one day after it cleared its first legislative hurdle in the House.

"If they pass it, I'll sign it,” he said, in remarks reported by CBS News. The bill, called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” which was introduced earlier this week, would give TikTok a six-month window to divest itself from parent company ByteDance or face an app store-level ban in the US. Meanwhile, Republicans in the House of Representatives could bring the bill to a floor vote as early as Wednesday, Semafor reported.

TikTok has said the bill is a thinly-veiled effort to force a “total ban” of its app. "This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States," the company said in a statement earlier this week. "The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

The company has also encouraged its millions of users to oppose the measure. On Thursday, ahead of the committee vote on the bill, the app sent push notifications prompting users to call their representatives and ask them to oppose the legislation. The notifications reportedly led to a flood of calls in many Congressional offices as staffers fielded hundreds of calls from teens.

Notably, the bill has another prominent opponent: former President Donald Trump. Though Trump also sought to force a sale of TikTok to a US company during his time in office, the former president said he no longer believes the app should be banned. “If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” he wrote in a post on Truth Social.

Though clearing the House would be significant milestone for the bill, it’s unclear where the Senate stands on it. As Semafor points out, some prominent senators have been a bit more cautious in their comments about whether they would support the legislation. At a recent Senate hearing about child safety, several senators pressed TikTok CEO Shou Chew on his own citizenship (he's Singaporean) as well as the app’s ties to China and the practices of its parent company ByteDance.