Bill to ban TikTok in U.S. passes a significant hurdle, heads to White House for Biden to sign

Bill to ban TikTok in U.S. passes a significant hurdle, heads to White House for Biden to sign

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According to CNN, the bill that could result in the banning of TikTok in the U.S. passed a major hurdle Tuesday when it was passed by the Senate. The bill, attached to $60 billion in funding for aid  to Ukraine and $26 billion in assistance to Israel, passed the Senate by a vote of 79-18 and will be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign. Biden has already made it known that he will sign the bill which got by the House last week by a 360-58 margin.

The bill would give TikTok owner ByteDance, a company headquartered in China, 270 days to sell TikTok although the president would have the discretion to extend that time period to one year if he feels that a deal is close. If ByteDance cannot find a buyer within the 270 day/1-year timeframe, the app would be banned in the U.S. TikTok is extremely popular and the short-form social media platform has over 170 million users in the U.S.

U.S. lawmakers fear that ByteDance could be forced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to turn over personal data belonging to U.S. users to the CCP and spy on its U.S. subscribers. There is also concern that TikTok could be used to spread CCP propaganda to American youngsters TikTok says that once the bill is signed into law, it will fight the ban in court.

For now, U.S. lawmakers are celebrating. Just before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) said, “Finally, finally, finally. Tonight after more than six months of hard work, and many twists and turns in the road, America sends a message to the entire world: We will not turn our back on you.”

Some legal experts believe that the First Amendment might save TikTok. Nadine Farid Johnson, policy director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said,  “Longstanding Supreme Court precedent protects Americans’ First Amendment right to access information, ideas, and media from abroad. By banning TikTok, the bill would infringe on this right, and with no real pay-off. China and other foreign adversaries could still purchase Americans’ sensitive data from data brokers on the open market.”

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