Bill that could ban TikTok in the U.S. passes the House by a wide margin

Bill that could ban TikTok in the U.S. passes the House by a wide margin

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With a bipartisan vote count of 360-58, the House passed a bill on Saturday that takes the banning of the popular video app TikTok in the U.S. one step closer to becoming reality. The bill is similar to one that passed the House in March by a vote count of 352-65; that bill would ban TikTok owner ByteDance from U.S. app storefronts unless the Chinese company quickly sold TikTok to a new owner.

With 170 million U.S. users, TikTok is accused of collecting personal data from its U.S. subscribers and there is concern that under Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rules, the Chinese government can force ByteDance to turn over this information to it.

The new TikTok bill is attached to a couple of requests to fund military equipment for Ukraine and to fund missiles for Israel. By submitting the bill to the Senate in this format, House Republicans put pressure on the Senate to pass the bill in a single vote. Analysts believe that the Senate will take up the bill within the next two weeks which could improve its chances of getting passed. President Joe Biden has previously said that if the bill reaches his desk, he will sign it.

The U.S. considers TikTok, with its current ownership, to be a national security threat. However, many young Americans love the app and TikTok users would prefer to see ByteDance sell the app to a U.S. company. In 2020, then President Donald Trump tried to force ByteDance to sell TikTok’s U.S. assets to an American company and in September of that year, he told reporters that he had approved “in concept” a deal that would have resulted in the acquisition of TikTok by U.S. tech firm Oracle. That deal never made it to the negotiating stage. Microsoft and Walmart were also said to be interested in TikTok.

Once signed into law by the president, the new bill would give ByteDance 270 days to find a new owner for TikTok, up from the 6-month deadline that the previous bill from last month gave the company. The new bill also would give the president the option to increase the deadline by an additional 90 days if he feels that progress is being made on a sale.

In a post on “X” this past week, TikTok wrote, “It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives 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.”

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