US President Joe Biden has signed legislation that could ban TikTok in the country within nine months. The US Senate voted last week to motion a bill that will block TikTok due to privacy and security concerns.

The social media app’s owner, ByteDance, has until early next year to sell its US stake. If it fails, TikTok will be pulled from app stores.

ByteDance has argued that the move impedes the First Amendment rights of the 170 million users who regularly log onto the app in the US. However, lawmakers are worried that TikTok’s Chinese ownership poses a major problem.

The Senate Commerce Committee chair, Maria Cantwell, said that it must “prevent foreign adversaries from “conducting espionage” and “surveillance”.

ByteDance has often stated that it has no links to the Chinese government. However, it will now have to find a buyer in the US or pull out of the country entirely.

Stanford University’s Graham Webster believes that it will be difficult to finalise a sale within nine months, though ByteDance will be granted a three-month extension if it’s close to a sale.

Webster noted: “But even if somebody has deep enough pockets and is ready to go into negotiating to purchase, this sort of matchmaking on acquisitions is not quick.”

ByteDance is also expected to launch a legal challenge against the bill.

While the US could ban TikTok, there are no plans for a similar move in the UK. The app was blocked from government devices last year, but it’s not expected to extend beyond that.