Today, US authorities to enforce law separating TikTok from Chinese ByteDance

ByteDance, the parent company of the short video-sharing platform TikTok, could be given six months to sell its asset based on a bill that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee might vote on today. Failing to do so would result in a potential U.S. ban of the platform.

If approved by the committee, the proposed legislation will face a vote by the entire House of Representatives, marking the first major attempt by U.S. authorities to confront TikTok’s widespread influence, which spans over 170 million users in the country. “TikTok is free to continue its operations. People can interact with it as they please, provided that the separation occurs. This isn’t about banning it — consider it like a surgical procedure to remove a tumor and save the patient,” commented Mike Gallagher, one of the bill sponsors and chairman of the House Committee on China.

The bill paves way for ByteDance to dispose of TikTok within a window of 165 days. Should they fail to adhere, app stores operated by Apple, Google, and others would be barred from offering TikTok for download; a hosting restriction for ByteDance apps is also stipulated. Voicing support for the bill, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that it is aimed at eliminating the “threat posed by certain technological services operating in the United States”. Given the app’s substantial popularity in the country, blocking it amidst election year could pose a challenging task. There has been an ongoing TikTok campaign for the re-election of the current president since February.

Countering the proposed bill, TikTok administration claims that it is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. They continue to affirm that they neither have, nor will they share user data with Chinese authorities.

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