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US Congress Passes TikTok Ban Legislation, Bill Heads to Senate

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Congress Passes TikTok Ban
Congress Passes TikTok Ban: File Image

The US Congress enacted legislation Saturday that would prohibit TikTok in the United States if the popular social media platform’s Chinese owner does not sell its stake within a year. However, despite the TikTok ban, do not anticipate the app to disappear anytime soon.

House Republicans’ decision to include TikTok as part of a bigger foreign aid package, a priority for President Joe Biden with overwhelming congressional support for Ukraine and Israel, accelerated the prohibition after an earlier version had failed in the Senate.

A TikTok ban bill with a shorter, six-month selling period cleared the House in March with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, as both Democrats and Republicans expressed national security worries about the app’s owner, Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

The updated bill, which passed by a vote of 360-58, now goes to the Senate following discussions that extended the company’s selling timeframe to nine months, with an extra three months conceivable if a sale is in the works.

Legal disputes may extend that period even further. If the law passes, the corporation has stated that it will likely file a lawsuit to block it, claiming that it will deprive the app’s millions of users of their First Amendment rights.

TikTok has fought aggressively against the proposal, encouraging the app’s 170 million U.S. users, many of whom are young, to contact Congress and express their objections.

However, the intensity of the backlash enraged politicians on Capitol Hill, where there is widespread worry about Chinese threats to the US and few members use the platform themselves.

TiKTok Will Never Stop Fighting

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video released on the platform last month, addressing the app’s users. “We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you.”

The bill’s rapid passage through Congress is remarkable because it only affects one firm and Congress has adopted a hands-off approach to technology regulation for decades.

US lawmakers had failed to act despite efforts to protect minors online, protect users’ privacy, and hold firms more accountable for content put on their platforms, among other things. However, the TikTok ban reflects broad fears among lawmakers about China.

Members of both parties, as well as intelligence officials, have expressed concern that Chinese authorities may force ByteDance to pass over American user data or direct the business to suppress or promote TikTok content that benefits its interests.

TikTok has disputed claims that it is being utilized as a tool by the Chinese government and has stated that it has not shared user data from the United States with Chinese authorities.

TiKToK Ban Montana

TikTok Ban Montana: Getty Image

Montana Prohibited the Use of TikTok

The US government has not publicly shown evidence that TikTok exchanged US user data with the Chinese government or tampered with the company’s popular algorithm, which impacts what Americans see.

The corporation has good reason to believe that a legal challenge will be successful, as it has already won court battles over its operations in the United States. In November, a federal judge halted a Montana law that would have prohibited TikTok use throughout the state after the business and five TikTok content providers sued.

In 2020, federal courts blocked then-President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban TikTok after the firm sued, claiming that the order violated its free speech and due process rights.

His administration arranged a deal in which US businesses Oracle and Walmart would have acquired a significant share in TikTok. The transaction fell through for a variety of reasons, including China’s tougher export curbs on technology companies.


TikTok has spent $5 million on TV ads: File Image

Dozens of states and the federal government have imposed TikTok restrictions on official equipment. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed a lawsuit last year, claiming that Texas’ restriction violated academic freedom because it applied to public universities. In December, a federal judge decided in favor of the state.

The software has received support from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union. “Congress cannot take away the rights of over 170 million Americans who use TikTok to express themselves, engage in political advocacy, and access information from around the world,” Jenna Leventoff, the group’s lawyer, told the Associated Press.

According to AdImpact, an advertising tracking service, TikTok has spent $5 million on TV ads opposing the law since mid-March.

The advertisements have featured a variety of content creators, including a nun, touting the platform’s benefits in their life and claiming that a prohibition would violate the First Amendment.

The corporation has also urged its customers to contact Congress, with some lawmakers receiving profanity-laced calls.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” Alex Haurek, a spokesperson for the organization, said.

California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna voted against the bill. He believes there could have been less restrictive ways to pursue the corporation that would not end in a blanket ban or jeopardize free speech.

“I don’t think it’ll go well,” Khanna told the Associated Press. “It’s a sign of the Beltway being out of touch with where voters are.”

Nadya Okamoto, a TikTok content creator with approximately 4 million followers, stated that she has been speaking with other creators who are expressing “so much anger and anxiety” about the bill and how it will affect their life.

The 26-year-old, whose company “August” offers menstrual goods and is recognized for her activism for de-stigmatizing monthly cycles, earns the majority of her money via TikTok.

“This is going to have real repercussions,” she told me.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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