Fact Check

Did Congress Officially Ban TikTok?

Both the White House and U.S. Congress have been exploring different options to further regulate the app, including a general ban.

Published March 24, 2023

As of March 23, 2023, the video platform TikTok had been banned from general use in the U.S.

On March 23, 2023, claims spread on Twitter that TikTok had been banned in the U.S on the same day TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the U.S. Congress for the first time. The claim is false.

"USA FINALLY BANNED TIKTOK," one Twitter user said above a photograph of a person breaking chains from wrists. "Congress has officially banned TikTok," said another post.

While TikTok was banned in December 2021 from being used on U.S. federal government devices, there had not been a general ban placed on the app for private citizens in the U.S. at the time of publication. Both the White House and Congress had been exploring different options to further regulate the app, including a possible general ban, but no final decision had been reached. We'll update this check in the future if that happens.

The Biden Administration has cited national security concerns over TikTok being owned by Chinese company ByteDance as the reason for a potential ban.  A bi-partisan Senate bill that the White House endorsed in March 2023 could give the federal government the power to generally ban TikTok for U.S. users.

Called the RESTRICT Act, it would allow the U.S. secretary of commerce to broadly regulate technology produced by countries that have adversarial relationships with the U.S., including China. At the time of this publication, it had been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The White House also reportedly threatened a potential TikTok ban if ByteDance, the Chinese company that owned the app at the time of publication, refused to sell the company. Such a sale would have to be approved by China's government due to the country's export regulations. China said it would oppose such a sale at the time of this writing.

In August 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that imposed wide-ranging sanctions on TikTok. It was legally blocked in court. In June 2021, Biden revoked those executive orders and replaced them with his own, which set criteria for the U.S. government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. 

According to Insider, at least 27 U.S. states had banned the app from government devices at the time of this publication, including Texas, North Carolina, and Maryland. Other countries like India and Norway have either permanently banned TikTok or banned the app from work devices.

We've previously fact-checked other claims about TikTok, like whether the platform was banned in China. If you see any claims you think we should fact-check about TikTok regulations, you can send them using our contact form or by emailing izz@snopes.com.


Allyn, Bobby. "TikTok CEO Says Company Is 'Not an Agent of China or Any Other Country.'" NPR, 23 Mar. 2023. NPR, https://www.npr.org/2023/03/21/1165210054/tiktok-ceo-to-lawmakers-americans-data-not-at-risk.

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McKinnon, John D. "WSJ News Exclusive | U.S. Threatens Ban If TikTok's Chinese Owners Don't Sell Stakes." Wall Street Journal, 15 Mar. 2023. www.wsj.com, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-threatens-to-ban-tiktok-if-chinese-founder-doesnt-sell-ownership-stake-36d7295c.

Warner, Mark. RESTRICT Act. S. 686, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/686/text?s=1&r=15.

Collier, Kevin and Wong, Scott. "White House Backs Bipartisan Bill That Could Be Used to Ban TikTok." NBC News, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/restrict-act-bill-tiktok-rcna73682.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.