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House Approves Legislation Mandating TikTok Sale by Chinese Owner or App Ban

TechHouse Approves Legislation Mandating TikTok Sale by Chinese Owner or App Ban

The House of Representatives took a significant step on Wednesday by passing a bill targeting TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance. This legislative move, propelled by concerns over national security and foreign influence, puts ByteDance in a difficult position: either sell the immensely popular video-sharing app or risk facing a ban in the United States.

The bipartisan support behind the bill highlights the widespread unease among lawmakers regarding the potential risks associated with Chinese-owned technology companies. Republican leaders expedited the bill’s passage through the House, minimizing debate, and securing a resounding vote of 352 to 65. This overwhelming support reflects the bipartisan consensus that action must be taken to address the perceived threats posed by TikTok’s ownership.

Despite TikTok’s efforts to rally its 170 million U.S. users against the bill, and Beijing’s rejection of claims that TikTok poses a danger to the United States, the legislation moved forward. The Biden administration has been actively advocating for measures to address national security risks posed by Chinese ownership of technology platforms, including TikTok.

The bill’s primary objective is to compel ByteDance to divest itself of TikTok within six months to non-Chinese owners. If this condition is not met, the app would face a ban in the United States. Representative Mike Gallagher, a leading proponent of the bill, emphasized its aim to sever TikTok’s ties with the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok has vigorously opposed the bill, characterizing it as a de facto ban. The company has mobilized its resources to challenge the legislation and protect its foothold in the U.S. market. However, the outcome of the House vote signals a significant setback for TikTok’s efforts to influence legislative decisions.

The bill’s journey through the Senate remains uncertain, with Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer yet to commit to bringing it to the floor for a vote. Some senators have expressed reservations about the bill, underscoring potential obstacles to its passage. Additionally, legal challenges may arise even if the bill clears the Senate and is signed into law.

The passage of this bill represents the first instance where a measure directly targeting TikTok has received approval from a full chamber of Congress. The legislation reflects mounting concerns dating back to 2020, with lawmakers increasingly alarmed by the potential national security risks stemming from Beijing’s relationship with ByteDance.

The proposed legislation highlights the broader geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, particularly concerning control over critical technologies. President Biden’s administration has taken several steps to address these concerns, including restrictions on financial investments in Chinese companies and the protection of sensitive data from being accessed by China.

TikTok has vehemently defended its practices, asserting its commitment to safeguarding user data and maintaining independence from government influence. However, lawmakers remain skeptical, citing unresolved concerns about data privacy and potential foreign interference.

The passage of this bill underscores the growing bipartisan consensus on the need to address national security risks posed by Chinese-owned technology companies. Despite the challenges ahead, proponents of the legislation remain steadfast in their commitment to safeguarding U.S. interests in the face of evolving threats in the digital age.

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