Helena Lyng Blak
10 weeks ago

US House passes bill that could ban TikTok

The House of Representatives passed the bill Wednesday.
TikTok application icon on Apple iPhone X screen close-up.
XanderSt / Shutterstock.com

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill would most notably either effectively ban TikTok in the US or force the divestment of the service from its parent company ByteDance. 

The US government’s pushback on TikTok and ByteDance dates back to 2020, when former President Trump raised alarm over TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government, saying the app could pose a national security risk and be used to spread propaganda, as reported by Variety.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew said at a 2023 congressional hearing that TikTok has never shared, or even been requested to share, US user data with China, nor would it honor such a request. TikTok furthermore highlights that around 60% of ByteDance Ltd is owned by global institutional investors, 20% by ByteDance employees around the world, and finally, the remaining 20% is owned by the company’s Chinese founder.

Although bipartisan, the bill has not escaped criticism.

“We’re deeply disappointed that our leaders are once again attempting to trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points during an election year,” says Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in a press release issued by the union. ACLU argues that a TikTok-ban would negatively impact free speech as “millions of Americans rely on the app every day for information, communication, advocacy, and entertainment.”

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