US House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok Or Force To Sale

The House of Representatives on Saturday passed legislation that would ban TikTok in the United States if its Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, does not sell its stake within a year.

“This bill protects Americans and especially America’s children from the malign influence of Chinese propaganda on the app TikTok. This app is a spy balloon in Americans’ phones,” Michael McCaul, the bill’s author and Texas Republican representative told in a statement.

The revised divest-or-ban legislation on TikTok was passed by a 360-58 vote, with strong support from a majority of both Republicans and Democrats. The updated TikTok bill comes as part of a broader package from House Republican speaker Mike Johnson that includes foreign aid and national security bills to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

For those unaware, the House passed a similar bill in March that required China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok within 180 days or face a ban in the United States.

This bill was advanced on a unanimous bipartisan vote, 50-0, in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The revised legislation will now head to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the bill next week. Even U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will sign the legislation.

If the bill becomes law, ByteDance would have nine months to sell TikTok and a possible three-month extension if a sale was in progress.

It is also likely to try to challenge the law in court, arguing that it infringes the app’s millions of users of their First Amendment rights. However, such court challenges could significantly delay the timeline set out.

“Extending the divestment period is necessary to ensure there is enough time for a new buyer to get a deal done. I support this updated legislation,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell.

Lawmakers from Republicans and Democrats, as well as law enforcement and intelligence officials, have long expressed concerns that TikTok may present a Chinese government spying risk and pose a severe threat to U.S. national security.

Further, the Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to submit data of roughly 170 million Americans who use TikTok.

However, TikTok has repeatedly denied that the app has ever been used to share U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and will not do so if asked to.

ByteDance has strongly opposed the legislation, with the company posting a statement arguing that the House is “using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” said Alex Haurek, a spokesman for the company.

If the law gets passed, this would mark the first time ever the U.S. government has used it to shut down an entire social media platform.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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