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TikTok Faces Imminent US Ban as House Passes Bill, Biden Ready to Sign

The U.S. House passes legislation to ban TikTok, with President Biden poised to sign, escalating tensions over security and foreign ties.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill potentially banning TikTok nationwide, with President Biden signaling readiness to sign it into law. This marks a significant shift amid ongoing concerns over data security and ties to China.

House Overwhelmingly Passes TikTok Ban Bill Amid Data Security Concerns, Awaits Senate

Despite significant lobbying efforts to maintain TikTok in the United States, the House of Representatives passed legislation today to prohibit the app, according to NBC News (via Android Authority ). The bill passed when 360 representatives supported the prohibition, with 58 voting against it.

After passing the House again, the Senate and the President must approve the bill before it can become law. It will be introduced on the Senate floor next week as part of a critical aid package for Ukraine and Israel. The legislation is anticipated to pass, with President Joe Biden signing it as soon as it reaches his desk.

This prohibition results from bipartisan worries about TikTok's ties to China. There are concerns that China may utilize the app to promote propaganda to the US public. Furthermore, there are concerns about the vast amounts of data collected from millions of American users.

If the measure passes, ByteDance will be forced to choose between selling TikTok and ceasing operations in the United States. ByteDance is expected to exhaust all of its options before considering a divestiture.

Biden Endorses Congressional Bill to Force Sale or Ban TikTok in U.S., Stirs Debate

In last month’s report, the president's backing may boost a push for legislation requiring the sale of the Chinese-owned app.

President Biden revealed on Friday his support for a bill moving through Congress that might result in a statewide ban on the social media app TikTok.

“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” he told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland’s Prince George’s County.

Biden's statements may lend a boost to a plan that has quickly gained traction in Congress but faces significant obstacles to adoption. On April 18, a House committee cleared the bill 50-0 after TikTok users bombarded congressional offices with calls criticizing the measure.

The bill is the most recent danger to the program, which has been downloaded 170 million times in the United States despite critics' concerns about data security and its Chinese connections. The law would not explicitly ban TikTok but would require its Chinese parent firm, ByteDance, to sell the app or face restrictions that might prevent it from appearing in US app stores.

While the bill appears to be on track for a floor vote in the House, with the support of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), the Senate has yet to submit equivalent legislation. It would need to pass through both chambers before reaching Biden's desk. Previous White House pronouncements were more hesitant about their support for the project.

While Biden expressed support for the plan, his Republican opponent, Donald Trump, who had advocated for a TikTok ban while in office, stated Thursday night that he no longer believes it is a good idea.

In a post on his network, Truth Social, he said, “If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business.” He mentioned Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and referred to Facebook as "a true enemy of the people" but did not explain why.

Opponents of the law, notably civil rights groups, argue that it would limit TikTok's millions of American users' freedom of expression and violate the Constitution. Last year, a federal judge denied Montana's attempt to prohibit the app nationwide, ruling it unlawful for various reasons.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposed a similar bill last year, citing its impact on free expression. "We should beware of those who use fear to persuade Americans to give up their liberties," Paul said at the time.

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) stated Friday that he is still concerned about "the constitutionality of an approach that names specific companies" but will be "taking a close look" at the bill

Warner said in a statement, “I’ve said all along that I’m willing to work with anyone—Republican or Democrat—who takes this threat seriously.”

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. In a statement following Thursday's committee vote, TikTok spokesman Alex Haurek said, "This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States. The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

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