TikTok Ban in US Almost Inevitable After Senate Approves Bill Forcing Parent Company to Divest Owvnership or Face Prohibition

By Madz Dizon

Apr 24, 2024 12:27 AM EDT

TikTok Ban in US  Almost Inevitable After Senate Approves Bill Forcing Parent Company to Divest Owvnership or Face Prohibition
This photo illustration shows the TikTok logo reflected in an image of the US flag, in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2023.
(Photo : STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images))

The Senate's recent passage of a bill on Tuesday marks a significant milestone in the government's efforts to control social media.

This development is poised to swiftly become law, potentially impacting the popular video app TikTok.

Senate Approves Bill Targeting to Ban TikTok in the US

As part of a $95 billion foreign aid package, the legislation includes a provision that requires ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the app within a year.

If they fail to comply, it could result in being prohibited from US app stores and web hosting companies.

According to USA Today, the bill garnered strong bipartisan backing in both houses of Congress. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the package with a vote of 79-18, while the House approved the TikTok portion of the bill by a significant margin of 360-58.

President Joe Biden has expressed his intention to sign the legislation. Advocates of the policy argue that the app presents a potential threat to national security.

Lawmakers, who have been briefed by the Biden administration, have expressed concerns about potential Chinese government surveillance and the dissemination of propaganda through the app.

Approximately 170 million Americans are active users of the platform.

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TikTok Claims Bill Violates Americans' Freedom of Speech

TikTok assures that there have been no requests from the Chinese government for American users' data, and even if there were, the company would not comply.

Additionally, they contend that the legislation infringes upon the fundamental right to free speech enjoyed by Americans.

Moreover, they express concern that prohibiting the app would have detrimental effects on small businesses that heavily depend on it for visibility.

Thus far, there is no public evidence suggesting that the app is being used to conduct surveillance on US citizens. However, reports from various sources have indicated that TikTok's American operation has faced challenges in completely disassociating itself from its Chinese parent company.

TikTok, which claims it has not and will not share US user data with the Chinese government, has contended that the law is a ban that violates its users' free expression rights in the United States.

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell stated that Congress is not moving to punish ByteDance or TikTok, but rather "to prevent foreign adversaries from conducting espionage, surveillance, malign operations, and harming vulnerable Americans."

She claimed the timeline was reasonable. "This is not a new concept to require Chinese divestment from US companies," Cantwell said in a statement, according to Reuters.

However, Democratic Senator Ed Markey claimed ByteDance was unlikely to be able to carry out a divestment that would keep the app available to US customers. "We need to be extremely clear about the potential outcome of this bill. "It's basically just a TikTok ban," he explained.

READ MORE: TikTok Ban: US Passes Bill That Could Lead to Prohibition of Chinese App Unless Bytedance Divest Ownership 

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