TikTok ban in US in motion as Senate passes bill to TikTok

Congress passes TikTok sell-or-ban bill

By Stermy 5 Min Read

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that could compel ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell the platform or face a US ban.

The legislation, part of a larger $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel, was approved 79-18. And it now heads to President Joe Biden, who already committed to signing the TikTok legislation should it make it through both chambers of Congress.

“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.” President Biden said in an official statement released shortly after passage in the Senate.

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Upon presidential approval, ByteDance would have a year to sell TikTok or risk a US ban. Initially, nine months are allotted, with a potential three-month extension based on progress. However, legal challenges might delay enforcement.

House Republicans attaching the TikTok bill to a high-priority package expedited its passage after negotiations with the Senate. The initial version, granting ByteDance six months to divest its TikTok stakes, faced skepticism for its perceived brevity in handling a potentially multibillion-dollar deal.

The bill’s passage reflects bipartisan concerns in Washington over Chinese influence and TikTok’s ownership, with 170 million American users. Lawmakers fear Chinese authorities could access U.S. user data or manipulate content. Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell emphasized that Congress aims to prevent foreign espionage and harm to Americans.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell said; “Congress is not acting to punish ByteDance, TikTok or any other individual company. Congress is acting to prevent foreign adversaries from conducting espionage, surveillance, maligned operations, harming vulnerable Americans, our servicemen and women, and our U.S. government personnel.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner highlighted the risk of Chinese companies prioritizing government interests over user concerns. He criticized TikTok’s proposed data governance solution, Project Texas, for still retaining control in China, potentially subject to government exploitation.

Addressing young Americans’ fears of losing TikTok, Warner assured that the legislation is not meant to stifle their voices. He acknowledged their skepticism but urged understanding of Congress’s classified briefings on foreign threats. Warner empathized with concerns over big tech’s lack of consumer protections but expressed hope for TikTok’s continuation under new ownership, American or otherwise.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) said; “The truth is, these Chinese companies at the end of the day, they don’t owe their obligation to their customers, or their shareholders, but they owe it to the PRC government, in the context of social media platforms used by nearly half of Americans, it’s not hard to imagine how a platform that facilitates so much commerce, political discourse, and social debate could be covertly manipulated to serve the goals of an authoritarian regime, one with a long track record of censorship, transnational repression, and promotion of disinformation.”

Warner added that TikTok’s earlier proposed solution to concerns around its data governance, Project Texas, were inadequate. “Project Texas would still allow TikTok’s algorithm, source code, and development activities to remain in China,” Warner said. “They would remain so under ByteDance control and subject to Chinese government exploitation.”

But he also addressed the concerns of many young Americans who use TikTok and fear this legislation means it will go away. “I want to make clear to all Americans, this is not an effort to take your voice away,” Warner said. “Many Americans, particularly young Americans, are rightfully skeptical. At the end of the day, they’ve not seen what Congress has seen. They’ve not been in the classified briefings that Congress has held, which have delved more deeply into some of the threats posed by foreign control of TikTok.”

See This: President Biden signs TikTok ‘ban’ bill into law

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By Stermy
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Stermy is one Crazy fan of the word "Internet". Always online to stay informed and keep others updated. #townflex