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Behind the TikTok Ban: Understanding the House's Bill and Its Implications

Tik Tok may be no more.


The House on Wednesday passed a bill that could lead to the entire nation banishing the popular video app, TikTok, but only if its China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake. Lawmakers are acting on concerns that the company’s current ownership structure is a national security threat, according to the Associated Press.

But it’s a whole process. The bill, which was passed by a vote of 352-65, will now go to the Senate, where the prospects remain unclear.

Where is TikTok from? Well, the application has more than 170 million American users, and it is a “wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese technology firm, ByteDance Ltd."

United States lawmakers contend that ByteDance demands access to the data of the consumers of TikTok at whatever timetable it wants. However, the concern is derived from a group of Chinese national security laws that “compel organizations to assist with intelligence gathering.”

“We have given TikTok a clear choice,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “Separate from your parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party), and remain operational in the United States, or side with the CCP and face the consequences. The choice is TikTok’s.”

But the House passage of the bill is just the first step. The Senate would also need to pass the measure for it to be the actual law, and lawmakers in that section said they would review it thoroughly. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would have to consult with committee chairs to determine the bill’s path.

President Joe Biden said if Congress passes the bill, he will indeed sign it.

The House vote is the latest example of heightened tensions between China and the U.S. Targeting TikTok has lawmakers tackling what they deem a grave threat to America’s national security.

Still, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Wednesday said the company invested to keep user data safe, and the TikTok platform is free of outside manipulation. If the bill is passed, he said it would give even more power to a handful of other social companies.

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