House Passes Bill Requiring TikTok Sale to American Company or Faces U.S. Ban

House Passes Bill Requiring TikTok Sale to American Company or Faces U.S. Ban
  • PublishedApril 20, 2024

In a significant legislative move, the House of Representatives voted on Saturday to potentially ban TikTok in the United States unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells the social media platform to an American company. This decision could dramatically reshape the landscape of social media in the U.S.

The bill, which now advances to the Senate, proposes that ByteDance must divest its ownership in TikTok within about a year to avoid a ban. This extends an earlier draft that allotted only six months for such a sale. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation soon, reflecting a bipartisan consensus on the matter.

House Speaker Mike Johnson expedited the bill by incorporating it into a larger legislative package, which includes measures for confiscating Russian assets and provides delayed aid to Taiwan, Israel, and Ukraine. This strategic bundling is aimed at overcoming the prolonged congressional deadlock.

The urgency behind the legislation stems from longstanding concerns among American lawmakers that TikTok, with its vast U.S. user base estimated at 170 million, poses a national security threat due to ByteDance’s obligations to share data with the Chinese government.

This bill echoes efforts by former President Donald Trump who, towards the end of his tenure, attempted to ban the app but later changed his stance, suggesting that eliminating TikTok might inadvertently benefit Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which he criticized sharply.

President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign the bill into law should it clear the Senate next week. While the bill pushes for a sale rather than an outright ban, TikTok’s leadership is bracing for significant legal battles, with potential lawsuits from both the company and its user community.

ByteDance has voiced its concerns, stating last month that the legislation effectively ensures a total ban on TikTok in the U.S., marking a drastic turn in the ongoing debate over digital privacy and international data security.

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