House passes bill that could ban TikTok in US

The House on Wednesday passed legislation that could force the Chinese parent company of popular social media platform TikTok to sell the app or be banned in the U.S.

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Lawmakers voted 352-65 in favor of the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass through the House and move on to the Senate.

If the bill becomes law, it would require any company deemed by the president of the United States to be a “foreign adversary” to divest within 180 days, or be banned from app stores and web hosting services, The Washington Post reported.

TikTok slammed the vote and the process leading up to it in a statement released on social media.

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,” officials with the ByteDance-owned app said. “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.”

During debate ahead of Wednesday’s vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., emphasized that the bill “is not a ban on TikTok.”

“I’m a grandmother of teenagers. I understand the entertainment value, the educational value, communication value, the business value for some business on this,” she said. “This is not an attempt to ban TikTok. It’s an attempt to make TikTok better.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., spoke against the bill, saying that it would be “opening a Pandora’s box.”

“I believe that this bill can cause future problems,” she said, later adding, “I’m opposed to this bill.”

President Joe Biden indicated earlier this week that he would sign the bill passed by the House if it makes it to his desk. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the bill “is about a question of ownership.”

“Do we want TikTok, as a platform, to be owned by an American company or owned by China?” he said. “Do we want the data from TikTok — children’s data, adults’ data ... to be staying here in America or going to China? That is the fundamental question at issue here.”

In 2022, Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act which bars federal government employees from using TikTok on agency-owned devices. More than two dozen states have also banned the app from government-issued devices, according to The New York Times.





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