US House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok

US House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok

March 14, 2024, 7:37 a.m.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok. Lawmakers are worried it could pose a security risk or even meddle with voters in an election year.

The app has 170 million users in the US. Lawmakers are concerned the Chinese government could exploit the app to steal information and spread propaganda. The bill would force the Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell it within six months.

Republican Mike Gallagher said the bill forces TikTok to "break up with the Chinese Communist Party." He added, "It does not apply to American companies. It only applies to companies subject to the control of foreign adversaries."

Former President Donald Trump has argued that banning TikTok would make young people "go crazy." However, Republican lawmakers defied their presumptive 2024 presidential nominee and joined Democrats in supporting the bill by a vote of 352 to 65.

TikTok mobilized users to oppose the legislation and to contact their representatives. It said the bill was rushed through with the intention of banning its operations.

Those claims echo the Chinese government, which accused lawmakers of "bullying."

On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, "Such practice of resorting to hegemonic moves when one cannot succeed in fair competition disrupts the normal operation of businesses."

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain fate. Some senators have joined activists in arguing a ban might infringe on rights to free expression.

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