US TikTok Ban Edges Closer to Reality After House Passes Bill

TikTok's US ban inches closer to become reality, as politicians vote to enact bill that would see it removed from app stores.

The controversial ‘TikTok Ban’ bill has passed the House vote, making an outright ban on the Chinese-owned social media platform more real than ever.

With the next battle for the bill being taken to the Senate, Bytedance, the company behind TikTok, faces the stark reality that its 150 million US userbase could soon be a thing of the past.

Concerned about an impending ban, the company is asking its users to put pressure on politicians.

An America-wide ban on TikTok is increasingly becoming a real possibility, with the US House of Representatives passing a bill supporting the motion this week.

As CNN reports, 352 members of the House voted in support of the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.” But the bill’s future isn’t 100% certain as 65 politicians voted against it, 50 of them Democrats and 15 from the Republican party.

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Now that the House vote has passed, the bill will move to the Senate. If senators agree to the bill, President Biden will have the opportunity to sign and enact it into law. Should all these things happen, TikTok owner ByteDance would have six months to disinvest in the app to avoid a US ban.

Its creation mainly stems from fears that Chinese government officials could use TikTok as a means to collect and spy on the data of US citizens, potentially jeopardizing American national security.

The bill’s co-author, Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher, said the country cannot risk “having a dominant news platform in America controlled or owned by a company that is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Disagreement Over TikTok Ban Bill

With the House voting in support of the bill and the president indicating that he would sign it, a TikTok ban across the States does seem inevitable.

But a slight spanner in the works has appeared now that former US President Donald Trump, whose administration previously wanted to ban TikTok in 2020, has objected to the bill.

Speaking to CNBC this week, Trump warned that a TikTok ban would “make Facebook bigger” and described the social networking site as “an enemy of the people.”

He said TikTok has good and bad points, adding: “There are a lot of people on TikTok that love it. There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

Another Republican politician, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has also opposed the TikTok bill. She warned that the move would give Congress the power to order further corporation sales, potentially using US data protection and national security fears as an excuse.

There are also politicians who fear a US TikTok ban would anger a large userbase of 150 million Americans, particularly young people, ahead of the November presidential election.

TikTok Urges Users to Contact Politicians

Top brass at TikTok HQ are understandably raging at the prospect of a US ban, which the company views as a freedom of expression violation against its users.

In a statement released after the vote on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the company 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.”

TikTok is even asking its users to ring politicians on Capital Hill to express their opposition to the legislation. This has led many members of Congress to receive rising numbers of calls from concerned TikTok users.

In an X video, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew warned that the ban would make other social media apps more powerful and deprive American content creators and businesses of billions of dollars.

“We will continue to do all we can including exercising our legal rights to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you,” he said. “We believe we can overcome this together… Protect your constitutional rights. Make your voices heard.” – TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew

Chinese government officials agree with TikTok’s opposition to the bill, with a spokesperson from its foreign ministry accusing the US of continually “suppressing TikTok” without finding evidence that the app hinders US national security.

“This kind of bullying behaviour that cannot win in fair competition disrupts companies’ normal business activity, damages the confidence of international investors in the investment environment, and damages the normal international economic and trade order,” the statement continued.

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Written by:
Nic is a freelance journalist who has written on a variety of tech subjects over the years, including AI, cyber security, and telecoms, and whose work has appeared in publications such as BBC Tech, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, Engadget, Business Insider, and many more.
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