• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Here’s all you need to know about America’s impending TikTok ban

U.S. House passes bill to ban, sell TikTok

A bill forcing the sale of TikTok from ByteDance, its Chinese parent company, is moving quickly through the US House of Representatives.

President Joe Biden will reportedly support the move. The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act was unanimously approved (50-0) by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, and the bill is now before the full House.

If passed, the bill would give ByteDance 165 days to sell TikTok. Otherwise, app stores would be prohibited from offering TikTok, and web hosting services would be unable to provide services to the app.

“It is not a ban, it puts the choice squarely in the hands of TikTok to sever relationships with the Chinese Communist Party. Think of it as the surgery designed to remove the tumor and thereby save the patient in that process,” said Mike Gallagher, United States Representative.

“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” President Biden told reporters, according to CBS News.

Lawmakers’ concerns stem from rising tensions between the US and China. They worry ByteDance could be forced to hand over US user data to the Chinese government, citing a Chinese law requiring domestic companies to do so upon request.

Some lawmakers fear Beijing might use this access for spying or spreading disinformation, though the US government hasn’t provided evidence of this happening. TikTok CEO denied sharing user data with China and emphasised plans to move US user data to Oracle servers in Texas.

This hasn’t satisfied lawmakers. House lawmakers received a closed-door briefing from national security officials before the committee vote.

How TikTok reacts

Despite growing opposition from civil liberties and tech industry groups and a campaign by TikTok urging users to pressure lawmakers, the bill is moving forward.

TikTok launched pop-up warnings on its platform about a potential US ban, claiming it would harm businesses, creators, and artists. The pop-up allows users to contact their House representative.

This tactic resulted in a surge of calls to House members. A Republican aide said switchboards were jammed with calls from people worried about losing access to TikTok.

However, another congressional source told Axios that lawmakers are angry about the calls and alleged misinformation. CNN reports that a Republican insider told it that many of the calls are coming from teenagers and the elderly, who appear to be “confused” about the nature of the legislation.