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House passes TikTok ban bill

TikTok (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 14, 2024

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill Wednesday that would require Bytedance to divest from the popular social media platform TikTok or face a potential ban on the Chinese company’s app in the United States.

According to Fox News, the bill was passed 352-65 with bipartisan support in the House. If the Tiktok legislation is signed into law, TikTok would be banned in the United States unless Bytedance divested from the social media app within 165 days of the bill’s passage. The legislation would also pressure Bytedance to sell the app to a country that is not considered an adversary of the United States.

Fox News reported that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) has not yet committed to bringing the TikTok bill to a vote in the Senate. However, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has indicated that the lower chamber will place significant pressure on the Senate to approve the legislation.

According to Fox News, lawmakers in support of a ban on TikTok have warned that the social media platform presents a national security threat due to the Chinese government’s association with Bytedance and its potential access to social media users’ private information. On the other hand, opponents of the bill have warned that a potential ban on TikTok could violate the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.

In a statement released last week, TikTok claimed, “The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”

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President Joe Biden has signaled his support for the legislation that would ban TikTok in the United States if Bytedance does not divest from the popular social media platform. “If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” Biden previously told reporters.

On the other hand, former President Donald Trump has reversed his previous stance on TikTok. While the former president pushed for the app to be banned during his first term in office, Trump has now warned that the legislation would only increase the size of other social media companies, such as Facebook, which he believes presents another danger to the American people.

“Without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people,” Trump, said in a Monday interview on on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“If China wants anything from [TikTo], they will give it, so that’s a national security risk [that] goes up,” Trump added. “But when I look at it, I’m not looking to make Facebook double the size. And if you ban TikTok, Facebook and others — but mostly Facebook — will be a big beneficiary, and I think Facebook has been very busy.”