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Legislation to Force ByteDance Divestment of TikTok Gains Momentum

 |  March 10, 2024

President Joe Biden has signaled his intent to sign legislation compelling ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, to divest the popular short video app within a six-month timeframe. This decision comes amidst concerns raised by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who has voiced apprehensions about a potential ban on TikTok, a platform used by approximately 170 million Americans.

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on the proposed TikTok crackdown bill as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The bill garnered unanimous approval from a committee on Thursday, paving the way for a full House vote. However, the legislation faces a significant hurdle in the form of a two-thirds majority requirement for approval.

President Biden, a Democrat, affirmed his willingness to sign the bill if it passes the House. Yet, the bill’s fate in the Senate remains uncertain, with some lawmakers expressing a desire for modifications to the proposed legislation, as reported by Reuters.

Related: TikTok Updates Data Usage Regulations To Fit EU Laws

Former President Trump, currently vying for a return to the White House in the November election, has voiced objections to the notion of banning TikTok. Taking to social media, Trump argued that such a ban could potentially bolster the dominance of Facebook, suggesting it would lead to a doubling of the social media giant’s business.

Notably, Trump’s relationship with Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, has been tumultuous, with Meta revoking his access to Facebook and Instagram following the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. Although his accounts were reinstated in February 2023, Trump’s stance on the proposed legislation remains unclear, with no immediate comment from his campaign.

In response to the brewing legislative debate, Meta Platforms declined to offer a comment. However, the Justice Department has reportedly suggested that a divestiture bill, rather than an outright ban on TikTok, would place the government in a stronger legal position. This suggestion was made in a document presented to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, providing further momentum to the push for ByteDance’s divestment of TikTok.

Source: Reuters