US House of Representatives Passes Law to Block TikTok

US Government Moves to Impose Catapults on TikTok

The US government is taking a serious stance against the Chinese company ByteDance by forcing them to sell or completely ban TikTok. The US House of Representatives has supported a bill that mandates the isolation of the app developer from ByteDance, its parent company in China. If the bill is not complied with, the app will be banned.

The bill received broad approval with 352 votes in favor and 56 against. It now awaits Senate approval before being assented to by President Joe Biden who has already pledged to sign the bill once it’s passed by Congress. US politicians fear that ByteDance, a company subject to Chinese laws, may share user data with authorities, posing a security threat. Last week, the Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously voted in favor of the bill after a meeting focusing on risks associated with apps from hostile nations. Despite reassurances from TikTok that US user data is not stored in China and the company’s willingness to strengthen data protection measures, lawmakers remain unconvinced.

The bill, titled ‘The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act’, proposes penalties for app stores and web hosts that host TikTok services. Initially aimed at ByteDance, the law can also be applied to social media apps from companies in countries that are hostile to the US.

Several free speech advocacy organizations, including the ‘American Civil Liberties Union’ (ACLU), have opposed the bill. However, discussions at the House of Representatives highlighted that the goal of this bill is not to ban TikTok but to disconnect it from Chinese authorities. Critics of the bill argue that it does not address national security concerns but rather curbs freedom of speech and widens the power of government institutes.

It’s troubling to give presidents the power to decide what Americans should watch on their phones and televisions,” commented Congressman Thomas Massie in regard to the bill.

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