Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The U.S. TikTok ban explained: A guide to its timeline and implications   

TL;DR: Since its arrival in the U.S. in 2018, TikTok has been both a massively popular app and a national security concern. In April 2024, President Joe Biden signed a law that could potentially ban TikTok in the U.S., but TikTok is already fighting to avoid that fate.

Unpacking the TikTok Ban and resulting implications

The clock might be striking midnight for social media giant TikTok. 

After becoming a global phenomenon and captivating audiences with short, engaging videos and creating a new generation of digital influencers, TikTok began facing a great deal of scrutiny in the United States. 

With national security concerns at its core, President Biden signed a federal law on April 24th, 2024, that could force TikTok owner ByteDance to sell the app by January 2025 or see it banned altogether.

Why is TikTok being banned in the U.S.?

The primary reason for the potential TikTok ban in the U.S. is on its face simple: national security. 

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company with alleged ties to the Chinese government, and this association has led to fears that user data could be accessed by the Chinese government and perhaps compromise the U.S.’s security.

The U.S. government is ultimately concerned that data collected by TikTok (including location data, browsing habits, and personal information) could be theoretically used for espionage or other risky activities. 

Chinese laws that require companies to assist with state intelligence efforts exacerbate these fears.

What does TikTok need to comply with to stay in the States?

To avoid the proposed ban, ByteDance has been given an ultimatum: sell TikTok (and likely the rest of their apps available in the United States, including Lemon8, Hypic, and CapCut) before January 24, 2025. 

There is a potential grace period of 90 additional days, should a transaction be ongoing but not completed by the time the deadline arrives.

However, both TikTok and a group of TikTok users have sued the United States government in attempts to block the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. 

With over 170 million American users of the app, there is tremendous public interest in the various potential outcomes.

Instant Preview

Enter any URL to build your app

Please wait ...
Oops! Something went wrong while loading...

TikTok vs. the United States: A timeline

October 2018: TikTok launches in the United States

September 2019: TikTok announces partnership with the National Football League

April 2020: TikTok passes 2 billion global downloads

April 2024: President Biden signs Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act

May 2024: TikTok sues U.S. government over ban

January 2025: Initial deadline for TikTok divestment from ByteDance

What does the ban actually mean, and how will it be implemented?

While the ultimate process remains to be seen, an outright ban on TikTok would mean that the app would no longer be available for download in app stores in the U.S. 

However, that would only limit new users, and prevent current users from getting updates. That includes security updates, so even using a less-functional and outdated version would pose a serious risk. 

Eventually, the app would become ‘useless’.

It’s possible further measures might be taken, where service providers will be directed to block the app entirely. In this case, the app would cease to function, effectively cutting off access to users’ content and followers.

How has TikTok responded to the ultimatum?

While the recent law has escalated TikTok’s situation, security concerns have dogged their footsteps for years. 

Over that time, TikTok has increased its transparency efforts, including opening a Transparency Center in the U.S., where experts can review its practices and code. 

They have also partnered with Oracle on an initiative called Project Texas, where they seek to store U.S. user data exclusively on servers within the United States.

Since the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, however,  ByteDance has sought a legal solution to the situation, openly stating that they would prefer to shut down in the U.S. entirely, rather than sell. 

Despite that, several potential buyers have expressed interest, including formerTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, and Oracle.

What kind of App is TikTok?

While TikTok doesn’t advertise their development processes and strategies, it makes use of native languages like Kotlin and Swift. 

As TikTok also maintains a website, both web and mobile platforms likely display front-end content from a shared back-end base. 

Native apps like this provide a variety of convenient features, including built-in media players and access to other device hardware.

Documentation Icon

Want to know how it all works?

Get hands-on with Median’s comprehensive documentation, and build your app with ease.

View Documentation


The potential ban on TikTok in the United States, and the subsequent legislative battles still to come, are highlighting the increasingly complex interplay between national security, data privacy, and the global reach of digital platforms. 

The safety of American citizens and the United States itself are important concerns, but those same citizens — users of TikTok by the tens of millions — are concerned about Constitutional infringement at the same time. 

Whether TikTok wins their case, ultimately decides to sell, or simply abandons the American market remains to be seen. Whatever the case, the potential ban on TikTok sets a precedent that could affect other social media platforms, particularly those with foreign ownership or operations.

Social media platforms are already facing scrutiny over data handling practices, especially with the advent of machine learning algorithms and AI tools like ChatPGT and Midjourney. 

But TikTok’s unique situation could lead to even more stringent regulations and oversight, and social media companies based outside the United States will be under the microscope. A ban on TikTok could reshape the social media landscape, creating opportunities for domestic platforms to capture TikTok's user base. 

Platforms with similar bite-sized content delivery could see a huge boost as content creators and influencers seek to maintain their status. 

In fact, a recent Wedbush survey of TikTok users revealed nearly 60% of respondents indicated they would move to Instagram, and nearly 20% said they would shift to YouTube.

We’ll keep this article updated as this compelling app story progresses. Stay tuned.

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
to top