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US Congress Advances Legislation to Compel TikTok Sale

 |  April 18, 2024

The US House of Representatives is gearing up for a vote on a bill that would force ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to sell the app or face a ban in the country. This move gained traction on Thursday, with key lawmakers throwing their support behind the measure.

The proposed legislation, embedded within a $95 billion aid package for allies like Ukraine and Israel, has bipartisan backing. It grants ByteDance a year to offload TikTok, a notable extension from the initial six-month deadline.

Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell, initially hesitant about the bill, now supports it, boosting its chances of passing. She emphasized the extended divestment period’s importance in facilitating potential buyer negotiations.

Read more: McConnell Advocates for TikTok’s US Divestiture

The legislative push stems from concerns about national security, with fears that China could access data from TikTok’s 170 million U.S. users. TikTok denies data sharing but faces skepticism.

TikTok criticized the bill’s inclusion in a broader package, arguing it exploits foreign and humanitarian issues. The company also claims the legislation infringes on users’ free speech rights and impacts American businesses reliant on the platform.

Cantwell stressed the need for robust legislation to address concerns about foreign-owned apps effectively.

As the vote approaches, the fate of TikTok in the U.S. remains uncertain, with lawmakers grappling over security, free speech, and economic impacts. Saturday’s vote outcome could signal a significant shift in social media regulation.

Source: Reuters