The House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok In US, Senate to Vote Next

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The House voted Wednesday to pass legislation that could ban TikTok in the U.S.

Republicans and Democrats alike voted in favor of having Bytedance, the owner of the popular video-sharing app, to be banned unless it divests.

The vote was 352-65, with one member, Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, voting present. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain fate and there appears to be less urgency to act.

“Communist China is America’s largest geopolitical foe and is using technology to actively undermine America’s economy and security,” Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement after the vote, warning that TikTok could be used to access American data and spread “harmful” information.

“Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates Congress’ opposition to Communist China’s attempts to spy on and manipulate Americans, and signals our resolve to deter our enemies.”

Fifty Democrats and 15 Republicans voted against the bill. Among them were progressives like Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a Senate candidate, as well as conservatives like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who lamented that she had previously been banned from social media.

The top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., was a surprising no vote. He also cited free speech issues with the bill.


Adversaries like China “shut down newspapers, broadcast stations, and social media platforms. We do not,” Himes said in a statement. “We trust our citizens to be worthy of their democracy. We do not trust our government to decide what information they may or may not see.”

ByteDance has been lobbying on platform to have its users call members of congress.

The platform has been arguing that it would violate the First Amendment rights of its 170 million U.S. users and harm thousands of small businesses that rely on it. “This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,” the company said on X.

Paul Tran, who, with his wife, has a skin care company called Love and Pebble, protested at a pro-TikTok rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday, with a message for members: “You will be destroying small businesses like us; this is our livelihood. We’ve created success.”

“If you pass this bill,” Tran said, “you will be destroying the American Dream that we really believe in.”

Despite this push amongst many, president Joe Biden, whose 2024 campaign joined TikTok last month, stated that he would sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.


“What we’re after is a separation from TikTok from its parent company, ByteDance, and by extension CCP,” the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., chairman of the select committee investigating the Chinese Communist Party, said Tuesday as he left a classified all-House briefing about the dangers of TikTok. “And in that world, TikTok users can continue to use the platform. In fact, I think it would allow for a better user experience.”

U.S. lawmakers and intelligence officials worry the Chinese government could use TikTok to access personal data from its millions of users and use algorithms to show them videos that could influence their views, including in the coming presidential election.

Testifying before Congress a year ago, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew denied that the Chinese government controls the app and pushed back against suggestions that China accesses U.S. user data.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that “despite the lack of evidence proving TikTok poses a threat to US national security, the U.S. has continued to suppress TikTok.”

“This practice of resorting to bullying tactics when unable to win in fair competition disrupts normal business operations, damages international investors’ confidence in the investment environment, and undermines the normal international economic and trade order, ultimately harming the U.S. itself,” he continued.

“My concern is about what TikTok has done in Taiwan, saying that the Uyghurs love their genocide and the people of Hong Kong love their voter suppression,” Pelosi told reporters.

But she added: “We want TikTok to exist; we’re not here to ban it. I’ve said we want to make it Tik-Tok-Toe. We want to make it something that is not a fearful social media platform but one that is very positive. And in order to do that, we have to see the divesting of it from the Chinese government having custodial possession of the data. … Who controls the algorithm controls all of it. … It is a national security issue. And it’s a personal security issue.”

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