U.S. Passes Bill that Could Ban TikTok, as Crackdown Ensues

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill targeting China-based ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

The legislation, if enacted, would force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a potential ban in the United States. The bill passed with majority in a 352-65-1 vote, signaling a tough stance against the popular social media app that has short form videos.

The legislation was introduced only last week and rapidly advanced through the House Energy and Commerce Committee before reaching the floor. The fight now heads to the Senate and it’s unclear if it will proceed, as consensus is mixed on banning TikTok.

The bill is called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. It would force ByteDance to sell the app in about six months, to allow it to remain operational in the U.S.

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,” a TikTok spokesperson said after the vote was passed, to CNBC. “We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

Why does the U.S. want to force ByteDance to sell TikTok? The U.S. has national security concerns about the app, citing it has ties to the Chinese Communist Party. By forcing the sale to a U.S. owner, that could alleviate security concerns.

Earlier this week, it was reported that former Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, was said to be possibly interested in buying TikTok. The selling price would be estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Kotick was said to be looking for partners, including having talks with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

Last year, numerous cities in Ontario banned TikTok from government devices. The federal government has already banned TikTok from employee devices, following the U.S. and EU. Other provinces also followed suit banning TikTok from worker devices as well.

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