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Banning TikTok could haunt Biden's reelection campaign

Pro-TikTok protest
Participants hold signs in support of TikTok outside the US Capitol Building on March 13, 2024, in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that could ban TikTok from US app stores.

  • Biden's already said he'd sign it into law if it passes through the Senate.

  • If the bill succeeds, it could be disastrous to Biden's shot at winning reelection against Trump.

The House of Representatives passed a bill in a bipartisan landslide vote on Wednesday that could lead to TikTok being banned from US app stores if it passes the Senate and President Joe Biden signs it into law.

While Biden seems set to do just that — he said earlier in March that he'd sign the legislation — the move could easily backfire on his already-struggling 2024 reelection campaign.

Referred to by most as a "ban," the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act gives any company owned by a "foreign adversary'" 180 days to either divest or sell to a US-based company before facing a hefty fine and potential legal action.

While support for the bill seems to be growing in Congress, pro-TikTok Americans and creators have protested against it for weeks, with some worrying their careers built on the app will be "deleted forever."

The app even took an usual step to rally its users to speak out against the legislation:

"Stop a TikTok shutdown," the app said in a message to its users, linking them to their member of Congress' contact information. "Speak up now—before your government strips 170 million Americans of their Constitutional rights and free expression."

Tiktok ban message
Lindsay Dodgson

Members of Congress reportedly said before the vote that TikTok's push backfired, making them more likely to vote in favor of it.

While Biden's been on board with the proposed TikTok bill for weeks, it's increasingly seeming like a political miscalculation with the November presidential election approaching.

A severe political misstep

For months, national polls have indicated that a rematch between Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump could be as close as the 2020 election, where five states won by Biden were decided by less than 85,000 votes. Many of those polls have shown that Trump appears to possess a slight advantage this go around.

With Biden already struggling to win over younger voters, openly backing the demise of one of the most popular social media apps in the world doesn't seem like the wisest move campaign-wise.

Trump, who tried and failed during his own presidency to ban the app, recently spoke out against the bill, noting that restricting it would likely benefit Facebook.

Trump's change of heart occurred soon after he met with Jeff Yass, a billionaire Republican donor and a prominent investor in TikTok's parent company.

While The New York Times recently reported that a "person close to the campaign" now expects Yass to make a pro-Trump donation, the former president's motives may be more than a way for his campaign to earn a quick buck. The closer the anti-TikTok bill gets to passing, the more easily he'll be able to convince young voters that Biden's behind the app shuttering, not him.

In an election that could be extremely close, endorsing bills as decisive as the anti-TikTok one or gunning for Taylor Swift's endorsement — or lack thereof — could determine who wins control of the White House.

Just as Biden's slogan goes, that's "no malarkey."

Read the original article on Business Insider