Hobbit Business Review

Is TikTok Getting Banned In the U.S.? Here’s What We Know So Far

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill that could ban TikTok in the country that uses it the most.

The vote passed 352-65, with 50 Democrats and 15 Republicans voting against it. One Democrat voted present.

The bipartisan bill, called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” now moves to the Senate, where its fate is unclear. If it reaches the desk of President Joe Biden, he is likely to sign it, as per his previous remarks.

 

If passed, the bill would require TikTok to separate from its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, within 6 months or face the consequence of being blocked from U.S. app stores.

“Today we will send a clear message that we will not tolerate our adversaries weaponizing our freedoms against us,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

Some lawmakers, however, including Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA), aren’t convinced that TikTok is an immediate threat.

“This idea that we’re going to ban, essentially, entrepreneurs, small business owners, the main way how young people actually communicate with each other is to me insane,” Garcia told AP.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that it is sharing American data with China. The company also launched a lobbying campaign against the bill, which Rodgers called out as an example of the company using “its influence and power to force users to contact their representatives.”

“We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, seven million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. The company’s previous statements point to the right to free expression and the response from constituents over a potential ban.

TikTok became available in the U.S. in 2018 and has since amassed more than 170 million American users. That makes the U.S. the country with the largest TikTok audience in the world, according to Statista estimates.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified before Congress for the first time in March and talked about the need for “clear, transparent rules that apply broadly to all tech companies.”

The bill now moves to the Senate.

“The Senate will review the legislation when it comes over from the House,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a brief statement.

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