US House passes bill that could force TikTok ban

Image: Robin Utrecht/picture alliance, DW

Lawmakers backed a bill that would ban TikTok in the US if Chinese company ByteDance refuses sell its stake in the short video app. Proponents of the bill say the app is a security threat, alleging ties with Beijing.

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly backed a law that would give TikTok‘s Chinese parent company ByteDance six months to sell the app’s US assets or see it banned.

Lawmakers voted 352 in favor of the proposed bill and 65 against.

The measure comes amid concerns that the firm’s Chinese ownership could pose a threat to US national security.

Short-video platform TikTok is hugely popular with young people and has an estimated 170 million users in the US.

What does the bill aim to do?

Lawmakers supporting the bill allege that ByteDance is beholden to China’s Communist Party leadership, which they fear could demand access to the data of US users.

The bill, officially called the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” requires ByteDance to divest within 180 days.

Failure to comply would result in TikTok being barred from Apple and Google app stores in the US.

The legislation would also give the president power to designate other apps to be a national security threat if under the control of a country considered to be adversarial to the US.

While the bill passed easily in the House, its fate is less certain in the Senate. 

The White House has said that US President Joe Biden would sign the bill into law if it’s approved by Congress.

Courtesy of DW