Home / News / House Passes Bill to Potentially Ban TikTok in U.S. Unless Chinese Parent Company Divests Ownership

House Passes Bill to Potentially Ban TikTok in U.S. Unless Chinese Parent Company Divests Ownership

The U.S House of Representatives has approved a bill that could effectively prohibit the distribution or hosting of TikTok in the United States unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, divests its stake in the popular app. The legislation, titled the “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” was spearheaded by Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.).

The bill, which passed with a vote of 352-65, marks the first time Congress has moved to outlaw an internet application. Its proponents, backed by bipartisan support, cite concerns over national security, fearing that the Chinese government could access or manipulate data from TikTok’s American users. However, TikTok has consistently denied such allegations, asserting its independence from Chinese governmental influence.

President Biden has expressed his willingness to sign the bill into law, despite his recent campaign’s presence on TikTok. If enacted, the legislation would face legal challenges, including potential disputes from TikTok itself. Previous attempts to ban TikTok in the U.S. have faltered in court due to First Amendment protections and the absence of concrete evidence implicating the app in security breaches.

The prospect of a TikTok ban has raised tensions between the U.S. and China, with the latter vehemently opposing any forced divestiture of ByteDance’s ownership. Chinese officials have warned that such actions would undermine investor confidence and disrupt international trade norms.

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Under the bill’s provisions, Apple and Google’s app stores and web hosting services would be prohibited from hosting any “foreign adversary controlled application,” specifically targeting TikTok. Violators of the ban could face substantial fines, calculated based on the number of U.S. users accessing the prohibited app.

Despite TikTok’s efforts to mobilize its user base against the bill, its fate in the Senate remains uncertain. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has yet to commit to bringing the legislation to a vote, while Senator Rand Paul has voiced concerns over its constitutionality.

Former President Donald Trump, who previously sought to force ByteDance into selling TikTok to American investors, has weighed in on the debate. While acknowledging TikTok’s security risks, Trump has criticized the potential for Facebook to benefit from its removal, calling the social media giant “an enemy of the people.”

 

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