A New Bill That Could Lead To TikTok’s Ban in The US Gains Momentum in Congress

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House lawmakers are advancing a bill that would ban TikTok is the US app stores unless the social media company parent, Bytedance, divests.

The new measure passed unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday reflecting renewed bipartison.

In recent months, the popular social media platform TikTok has found itself at the center of a political storm as lawmakers in the House of Representatives contemplate a potential ban. The debate surrounding TikTok raises crucial questions about national security, privacy concerns, and the influence of foreign-owned platforms on American society.

The bill was introduced with some bipartisan support earlier this week by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, who chairs a House select committee on China, and the ranking member of that committee, Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi. The legislation also has the support of the White House and House Speaker Mike Johnson, though its prospects in the Senate are unclear.

TikTok is mounting a push against the bill, including trying to mobilize its user base.

The company has served some users with full-screen pop-ups in the app warning that the bill “strips 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.”

Lawmakers argue that the Chinese-owned platform poses a significant threat to the United States due to its data collection practices and potential ties to the Chinese government. Critics claim that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, may be compelled to share user data with Chinese authorities, raising fears about the misuse of personal information and potential espionage activities.


Many of the calls appear to be coming from teenagers and the elderly, some of whom seem to be “confused” about why they are exactly calling or why TikTok might be at risk, one GOP aide told CNN.

“It’s not a ban,” he said. “It puts the choice squarely in the hands of TikTok to sever their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. As long as ByteDance no longer owns the company, TikTok can continue to survive. People can continue to do all the dumb dance videos they want on the platform, or communicate with their friends, and all that stuff. But the basic ownership structure has to change.”

Privacy concerns have long been at the forefront of debates surrounding social media platforms, and TikTok is no exception. Lawmakers worry that the app’s data collection practices, including the collection of sensitive personal information from millions of users, could jeopardize individuals’ privacy. The House is pushing for increased regulation and transparency to ensure that user data is not exploited or misused for malicious purposes.

In a statement to CNN, TikTok rejected lawmaker claims that their legislation is not a TikTok ban.

“This bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.”

The influence of foreign-owned platforms on American society has become a significant point of contention. Critics argue that TikTok, as a Chinese-owned app, has the potential to shape and manipulate public opinion, disseminate propaganda, or influence political discourse in the United States. Lawmakers are concerned about the impact of such foreign influence on the nation’s democratic processes and public discourse, prompting calls for a ban to safeguard national interests.


For years, US officials have warned that China’s intelligence laws could enable Beijing to snoop on the user information TikTok collects, potentially by forcing ByteDance to hand over the data.

If the House moves forward with a ban on TikTok, millions of users would be directly affected. Many individuals, particularly younger demographics, have built significant online communities and careers on the platform. The ban would not only impact their ability to create and share content but also disrupt the vibrant TikTok ecosystem. As a result, discussions around potential alternatives and the creation of domestic social media platforms are gaining traction.

So far, the US government has not publicly presented any evidence the Chinese government has accessed TikTok user data, and cybersecurity experts say it remains a hypothetical albeit serious concern.

State and federal lawmakers have already banned TikTok from government-owned devices, but have repeatedly run aground in trying to broaden restrictions to Americans’ personal devices.

In Montana, a federal judge last year temporarily blocked a statewide ban on TikTok, calling the legislation overly broad and threatening Montanan users’ First Amendment rights to access information through the app.

A legislative factsheet from the sponsors of the House bill claims the proposal does not censor speech.

“It is focused entirely on foreign adversary control—not the content of speech being shared,” the factsheet says.

But the overall effect of the bill would still implicate Americans’ free speech rights, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We’re deeply disappointed that our leaders are once again attempting to trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points during an election year,” said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel at the ACLU. “Just because the bill sponsors claim that banning TikTok isn’t about suppressing speech, there’s no denying that it would do just that. We strongly urge legislators to vote no on this unconstitutional bill.”

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