Bill that could make TikTok unavailable in the US advances quickly in the House

 A bill that could lead to the popular video-sharing app TikTok being unavailable in the United States is gaining traction in the House. Lawmakers express concerns about the potential surveillance and manipulation of Americans by the platform. The bill, supported by House Speaker Mike Johnson, has advanced unanimously in committee with a 50-0 vote and could soon proceed to a full House vote.

The proposed legislation takes a two-pronged approach. First, it requires ByteDance Ltd., based in Beijing, to divest TikTok and other controlled applications within 180 days of the bill's enactment, or these applications will be prohibited in the United States. Second, it establishes a process to allow the executive branch to prohibit access to an app owned by a foreign adversary if it poses a threat to national security.

The White House has provided technical support in drafting the bill, but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the legislation still needs refinement for President Joe Biden's endorsement.

Critics argue that TikTok could be compelled by the Chinese government to share data on American users, and concerns have been raised about the app spreading misinformation beneficial to Beijing. Former President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok through an executive order, which was blocked by the courts.

TikTok responded to the bill, stating that it amounts to an outright ban on TikTok, infringing on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans and affecting small businesses. The bill's author, Rep. Mike Gallagher, rejects the notion of a ban and emphasizes the effort to change TikTok's ownership. He expresses concerns about having a dominant news platform in America owned by a company beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.

The bill comes amid ongoing investigations into ByteDance by the US Department of Justice for surveilling American journalists. TikTok has promised to separate US user data from ByteDance and store it independently, monitored by outside observers. The American Civil Liberties Union and free speech advocacy groups urge lawmakers to reject the bill, citing potential violations of the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

The White House welcomes lawmakers' efforts on the TikTok legislation but emphasizes the need for further refinement before potential presidential approval. The administration aims to balance engaging with Americans on platforms like TikTok while addressing national security concerns.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post