US Lawmakers Demand That ByteDance Give Up TikTok or Risk Being Banned

In an effort to address national security concerns regarding its Chinese ownership, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers filed legislation on Tuesday that would give China’s ByteDance around six months to divest the well-known short video app TikTok or face a U.S. ban. After Senate legislation to prohibit the popular app stalled in Congress last year due to strong lobbying by TikTok, the bill is the first major legislative move in nearly a year toward banning or forcing ByteDance to sell the app.

 

More than a dozen lawmakers have introduced the bill, which is scheduled to be put to a vote on Thursday. Among them are Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the senior Democrat, and Mike Gallagher, the Republican chairwoman of the House of Representatives’ special China committee. “This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users,” stated Gallagher. “America‚Äôs foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States.” The bill would prohibit app shops owned by Apple, Google, and other companies from offering TikTok or from providing web hosting services to apps under ByteDance’s control. Instead, ByteDance would have 165 days to divest the app, which is used by over 170 million Americans.

 

However, the bill would not permit any enforcement actions against specific users of an app that is affected. A representative for the firm stated on Tuesday that “this bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it.” “This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs,” the representative stated. A representative for the White House National Security Council referred to the bill as “an important and welcome step” and stated that the Biden administration will collaborate with Congress in order “to further strengthen this legislation and put it on the strongest possible legal footing.”

 

 

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