US House to Vote on Bill Threatening TikTok’s Chinese Ownership

The US House of Representatives is set to make a decisive move today as it votes on a bill that could compel TikTok to sever ties with its Chinese parent company or face a ban in the United States.

The proposed legislation poses the most substantial challenge yet to the popular video-sharing app, which has amassed a massive following worldwide. Concerns have been mounting among governments and security officials about TikTok’s Chinese ownership and the potential influence of the Communist Party in Beijing.

The vote, scheduled for 10:00 am (1400 GMT), is anticipated to garner overwhelming support, marking a rare moment of bipartisan agreement in the politically divided landscape of Washington.

While the bill’s fate in the Senate remains uncertain, with key figures expressing reservations about such drastic measures against a widely embraced app boasting 170 million US users, President Joe Biden has indicated his readiness to sign it into law if it reaches his desk, according to the White House.

Dubbed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” the legislation, which unanimously passed through committee last week, mandates ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to divest the app within 180 days or face removal from Apple and Google app stores in the US. Additionally, it grants the president authority to designate other applications as national security threats if controlled by countries deemed adversarial to the US.

The renewed push against TikTok by Washington reportedly caught the company off guard, despite reassurances from TikTok executives following Biden’s recent presence on the platform during his reelection campaign.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is currently in Washington, lobbying to rally support against the bill, which the company perceives as a rushed legislative effort without due public scrutiny, as highlighted in a letter from TikTok’s vice president for public policy, Michael Beckerman.

While proponents of the bill, including House members Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, along with the White House, assert that it does not equate to a ban on TikTok as long as the company cuts ties with ByteDance, China has issued a warning, cautioning that such actions could have repercussions for the US.

Former President Donald Trump, who previously sought to wrest control of TikTok from ByteDance during his tenure, expressed opposition to a ban, citing concerns over strengthening Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, which he labeled as an “enemy of the people.”


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