The US House passed a bill that would ban TikTok

ALJAZEERA

POSITIVE
The bill now heads to an uncertain future in the Senate, though President Biden has pledged to sign it if it passes.
For his part, President Joe Biden has said he would sign the bill into law if it reached his desk.
Government officials have expressed fears that the data TikTok collects from its roughly 170 million American users could pose a national security threat.
Recent national security laws passed in China, which can compel organisations to assist with intelligence gathering, have further buoyed those concerns.
“If so-called national security reasons can be used to wilfully suppress other countries’ superior companies, there would be no fairness to speak of,” he added.
Voted NO on the TikTok bill.
“This process was secret, and the bill was jammed through for one reason: It’s a ban,” TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek said in a statement.
“[We] look forward to working together to get this bill passed through the Senate and signed into law,” Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio said in a statement.
If the bill were to be passed into law, ByteDance would have six months to divest before a ban would be imposed.
Last year, for instance, a US judge blocked a Montana state ban on TikTok use after the company sued.

Although President Biden has promised to sign the bill if it passes, the bill’s future in the Senate is now unknown.

In a recent blow to big tech and China, the US House of Representatives passed a bill by an overwhelming margin that would outlaw the social media site TikTok nationwide.

With a vote of 352 to 65 in favor, the bill had overwhelming bipartisan support. It will now be considered by the 100-member Senate, where its future is less certain. President Joe Biden has stated that if the bill came to his desk, he would sign it into law.

Should that take place, ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, would have roughly six months to sell off its US assets or risk having the video-sharing app banned in the US.

The legislation was prompted by worries that ByteDance was under the control of the Chinese government. Government representatives are concerned that TikTok may be a national security risk due to the data it gathers from its approximately 170 million American users.

These worries have been reinforced by recent national security laws that China has passed, which have the power to force organizations to cooperate with intelligence gathering.

On the other hand, Bytedance has consistently asserted that it functions autonomously from the Chinese government.

The choice is made using “entirely the logic of a bandit,” according to Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry.

He said, “By passing this bill, the US House of Representatives allows the US to stand on the opposite side of the principles of fair competition and international trade rules.”.

There wouldn’t be any justice at all, he continued, if phony national security concerns could be exploited to deliberately suppress the more successful businesses in other nations.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the US said in a statement on Wednesday that the bill has “given TikTok a clear choice.”.

“Remain active in the United States and break away from your parent company ByteDance, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, or take the side of the CCP and suffer the repercussions,” she advised. It’s TikTok’s decision. “.

The measure’s opponents on Wednesday cited concerns regarding free speech and referred to the action as a hasty attempt that falls short of substantive reform.

Representative Barbara Lee, a prominent progressive, wrote on the social media platform X, saying, “Congress should pass comprehensive data privacy protections and do a better job of informing the public of the threats these companies may pose to national security, rather than target one company in a rush and secretive process.”.

TikTok criticizes “bans.”.

A senior Biden administration national security official briefed lawmakers behind closed doors about TikTok and its implications for national security ahead of the House vote.

Legislators, Republican and Democrat alike, reported receiving an overwhelming number of calls from TikTok users opposing the bill.

refused to vote for the TikTok bill. This is poor policy in addition to raising issues with the First Amendment. Instead of focusing on social media platforms that we dislike, we should establish real standards and laws regarding privacy violations across all of them. [Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)] March 13, 2024.

In anticipation of the vote, a number of TikTok supporters, including well-known content creators on the platform, gathered in front of the US Capitol on Wednesday. In opposition to the vote, the company also released a statement.

TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek said in a statement, “This was a secret process, and the bill was jammed through for one reason: It’s a ban.”.

“We hope the Senate will take the information into account, pay attention to their constituents, and recognize the implications for the economy, the 170 million Americans who use our service, and the seven million small businesses.”. “.

Can Americans access TikTok?

It’s still unclear what Tiktok’s future in the Senate holds. The Democratic leader of the Senate, Charles Schumer, has stated that in order to decide the course of the bill, he will confer with the chairs of the pertinent committees.

Republicans and Democrats in charge of the US Senate Intelligence Committee expressed their encouragement over the bill’s passage in the House.

Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio released a statement saying, “[We] look forward to working together to get this bill passed through the Senate and signed into law.”.

As of right now, TikTok will still be accessible in the United States.

The bill would give ByteDance six months to sell its assets before it was banned, should it become law. That much time could pass for a sale, but that would be a tight timeline for such a big purchase.

US-based app stores would not be able to lawfully offer TikTok or offer web hosting services for ByteDance-controlled applications if they missed the deadline.

However, there would almost certainly be protracted legal challenges to any forced divestment. After the bill is signed into law by the president, ByteDance has 165 days to file an appeal.

For example, after the company sued, a US judge last year overturned a Montana state ban on TikTok use.

According to a person briefed on the situation, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will meet with senators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as part of a prearranged visit, the news agency Reuters reported.

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