TikTok ban

As expected, a bill that could ultimately ban TikTok in the United States has officially passed the House. The bill, titled as the “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” cleared voting on Wednesday, securing 352 votes in favor versus 65 votes against.

Now, the legislation is set to move to the Senate, where its face is less clear.

The bill in question doesn’t explicitly ban TikTok right off the bat. Instead, it gives China-linked parent company ByteDance around five months to sell TikTok. Should ByteDance fail to divest TikTok in that time frame, however, the app would effectively be banned in the United States.

As currently written, the bill would prohibit app store operators like Apple and Google from hosting TikTok in the United States. Lawmakers have attempted to make it clear that this isn’t necessarily a ban, but rather a “forced sale.”

TikTok ban: Here’s everything we know – 9to5Mac

Now that the bill has cleared the House, it moves to the Senate, where its fate is more unclear. As we noted earlier today, there’s no clear corresponding legislation in the Senate with bipartisan support, unlike the House. Should the measure ultimately pass the Senate, however, President Biden has said he will sign it into law.

Axios notes that Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – the two top senators on the Intelligence Committee – voiced their support for the bill after it passed the House today.

“We were encouraged by today’s strong bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives, and look forward to working together to get this bill passed through the Senate and signed into law,” the two said in a statement.

The bill is the result of concerns around TikTok and ByteDance potentially being a national security threat in the United States. ByteDance has repeatedly attempted to quell those concerns and said that the Chinese government has never demanded any data on TikTok users in the United States. And if it did, ByteDance would not give that data.

In a statement today, a TikTok spokesperson said:

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban. We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

Donald Trump, the former president and front-runner for the Republican nomination this year, has voiced his opposition to this legislation over concerns it would put more power into Meta’s hands.

In a post on social media, Trump said: “If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business. I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!”

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