TikTok says its parent company is not an agent of China, warns about free speech

TikTok says its parent company is not an agent of China, warns about free speech

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US lawmakers recently approved a divest-or-ban bill that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok to non-Chinese owners in six months, with the option to extend the timeframe with another three months if sale negotiations are ongoing.

Over the weekend, the US House of Representatives went even further and voted to ban the social app if ByteDance, its parent company, doesn’t cut ties with China.

If the Senate’s vote on the bill scheduled for this week ends up with the same result, then TikTok might be forfeit in the US if ByteDance doesn’t comply and sell it, especially since President Joe Biden has already confirmed it will sign the legislation.

In response to the Saturday voting, a TikTok spokesman said that if the Senate votes for the ban, it “would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate seven million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the US economy annually.” (via BBC)

Furthermore, ByteDance claims it “is not an agent of China or any other country,” and that about 60 percent of the company is owned by a range of global investment firms.

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However, it’s worth noting that even though its Chinese founders own just 20 percent of ByteDance, it’s the controlling stake in the company. As mentioned earlier, 60 percent of ByteDance is owned by various global investment firms, while 20 percent is owned by employees.

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