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U.S. House Passes Bill Aimed at Potential TikTok Ban

U.S. House Passes Bill Aimed at Potential TikTok Ban

Mar 14, 2024

U.S. House Passes Bill Aimed at Potential TikTok Ban

In a significant legislative move, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that could potentially lead to a nationwide ban on the widely-used video app TikTok. The bill, which targets TikTok's China-based parent company ByteDance Ltd., was passed by a resounding vote of 352-65 and is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.

Lawmakers expressed concerns that ByteDance's ownership of TikTok poses a national security threat to the United States. They argue that the Chinese government could potentially exploit the app to access sensitive data from the more than 170 million American users, citing Chinese laws that require companies to cooperate with intelligence operations.

"We have given TikTok a clear choice," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, stated." Separate from your parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party), and remain operational in the United States, or side with the CCP and face the consequences. The choice is TikTok's."

The future of the bill in the Senate remains uncertain, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., indicating that it will be thoroughly reviewed in consultation with relevant committees. President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign the bill into law if it is passed by Congress.

The move by the House reflects growing tensions between the U.S. and China and highlights concerns over national security. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew responded to the bill with a video message, emphasizing the company's efforts to protect user data and maintain a free platform. He warned that the bill could unfairly benefit a few social media companies and vowed to continue fighting for the platform.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticized the U.S. action as politically motivated and detrimental to international business operations and investor confidence.

The Republican and Democratic parties showed bipartisan support for the measure, with 197 Republicans and 155 Democrats voting in favor. However, some Republicans, such as Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Democrats like Rep. Jim Himes, expressed concerns about the potential overreach of governmental power and the impact of a ban on free speech and entrepreneurship.

National security officials briefed lawmakers on the matter before the vote, highlighting the balance between addressing security risks and safeguarding free speech online. TikTok has consistently denied allegations of sharing U.S. user data with Chinese authorities.

The legislative push against TikTok comes amid broader efforts by Congress to confront China on various fronts, including the formation of a special committee focused on China-related issues and bipartisan initiatives to compete with China.

As the bill progresses to the Senate, key figures like Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner and Sen. Maria Cantwell have voiced their intentions to work on the legislation, albeit with considerations for constitutional and civil liberty protections.

Proponents of TikTok, including creators and influencers who benefit from the platform, rallied against the bill on Capitol Hill, emphasizing the positive impact TikTok has had on their lives and businesses.

The bill's advancement marks a critical moment in the ongoing debate over the intersection of technology, privacy, and national security. With the Senate's review pending, the potential implications of this legislation continue to be a subject of intense discussion among policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the public.

House passes a bill that could lead to a TikTok ban if Chinese owner refuses to sell
The bill would require the Chinese firm ByteDance to divest TikTok and other applications it owns within six months of the bill’s enactment.


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