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The Bill About TikTok


The House of Representatives recently stepped up against TikTok on March 13th by passing the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act which may lead to a national ban. To avoid that ban, the owner of the social media platform would need to sell its stakes within six months following the President’s approval.


TikTok is a social media platform with more than 170 million American users and is a subsidiary of the Chinese company ByteDance. ByteDance is a Chinese-based company led by the Singaporean businessman and entrepreneur Sou Zi Chew.


Will TikTok be banned?


There is a slight chance that TikTok will be banned, but it is the worst-case scenario. The Senate would have to vote favorably on the bill, which is uncertain. Then, it would need the signature of the President. The bill would officially become law, meaning TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance would have six months to divide its assets in the United States or the application would be banned.


In other words, there are many steps and plausible scenarios to pass before TikTok gets banned. 


What Happened in the House?


The vote was mostly bipartisan, with 352 yays and 65 nays. More precisely, 197 Republicans and 155 Democrats supported the measure. 15 GOP representatives and 50 Democrats voted against it. 


Lawmakers worry that ByteDance feeds the Chinese government with American users’ data collected via TikTok, representing a national security threat. ByteDance’s CEO denied any allegation of this sort.


These allegations are a representation of the continual tensions between China and the United States and such a ban will certainly not appease, especially during an election year. This bill may be security motivated, but is also politically motivated.


The politicians opposed to the bill, such as Ilhan Omar, stated it was in clear violation of the First Amendment.


At the last minute, ex-President Donald Trump stated he was against the bill because it would help TikTok’s opponents, like Facebook, which Trump still criticizes due to his ban from the platform following the 2020 presidential fraud allegations. However, back in September 2020, Trump was in support of such a ban and Biden was against it.


What Will Happen Now?


The bill is now heading to the Senate, where its future remains uncertain. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer stated he preferred the Senate to do a thorough review instead of a rushed vote. A roll call will probably occur in the next few months. 


President Biden recently stated that if Congress decides to pass the bill, he will sign it.


In the meantime, many business people are concerned about the potential TikTok ban. Many wish the bill gets rejected because the social platform helped their business grow with cheap publicity.


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