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Lawmakers Push Bill to Force ByteDance Divestment: TikTok Faces US Ban

 |  March 5, 2024

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is set to introduce legislation on Tuesday aimed at addressing national security concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok. According to congressional aides, the proposed bill would give ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, approximately six months to divest its popular platform or risk facing a ban in the United States.

Led by Representative Mike Gallagher, chair of the House select China committee, and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the top Democrat on the committee, the legislation has garnered support from more than a dozen other lawmakers. The primary objective of the bill is to mitigate potential risks posed by Chinese ownership of TikTok, which boasts over 170 million users in the United States alone, reported Reuters.

Under the proposed legislation, ByteDance would be granted 165 days to divest TikTok. Failure to comply would render it unlawful for major app stores operated by tech giants like Apple and Google to offer TikTok or provide web hosting services to ByteDance-controlled applications.

Moreover, the bill would empower the president with new authority to designate apps deemed as security threats and impose bans or restrictions if divestiture does not occur.

Related: TikTok Updates Data Usage Regulations To Fit EU Laws

This move comes in response to mounting concerns over the security implications of TikTok’s ownership by a Chinese company. Efforts to address these concerns have gained momentum in Congress, with previous bills aimed at regulating or potentially banning TikTok stalling in legislative proceedings.

Last year, the White House expressed support for legislation sponsored by Senator Mark Warner and backed by over two dozen senators. The proposed legislation sought to provide the administration with enhanced powers to ban TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they were deemed to pose national security threats.

With bipartisan backing, the latest legislative effort signals a renewed push to address the security risks associated with popular apps owned by foreign entities. As the debate unfolds in Congress, the fate of TikTok in the United States hangs in the balance, awaiting legislative action to determine its future.

Source: Reuters