This Time Next Year, Americans’ Access to TikTok May be Thing of the Past

WASHINGTON (TND) - April 24, 2024 5:48 am

WASHINGTON (TND) – When the House passed a package of national security bills Saturday, an eventual ban on TikTok began to look inevitable.

Included in the 21st Century Peace Through Strength Act, which passed 360-58, is the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. It’s an updated version of a bill that passed the House last month that would give TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance nine months to divest TikTok or see it banned in the United States. After the initial nine months, the president would be authorized to extend the divestiture period by three months if there is a viable sale that hasn’t been finalized yet.

The Senate will begin voting on the legislation as soon as Tuesday and it’s expected to pass with robust support. President Joe Biden said he supports the text and is ready to sign it into law.

The idea that we would give the communist party this much of a propaganda tool, as well as the ability to scrape 170 million Americans’ personal data, it is a national security risk,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said Sunday.

TikTok, headquartered in Los Angeles and Singapore, plans to fight back. In an internal memo to staff, the company said it would challenge the anticipated law in court. Their argument would likely mirror what they’ve said in public: that a ban violates the First Amendment and the government is unfairly targeting the company.

ByteDance does not want to sell. Even if it did, Chinese export laws allow its government to block the export of TikTok’s algorithm.

TikTok has gone on the offensive to counter Washington’s narrative with a series of ad campaigns emphasizing the value of the platform and its safety precautions.

During congressional hearings, TikTok CEO Shou Chew has tried to convince lawmakers his company is independent of the Chinese Communist Party.

We have not been asked for any data by the Chinese government and we have never provided it,” Chew said in January.

According to recent reporting by Politico, during meetings with congressional staff, Chinese embassy officials “sought to claim the company as Chinese.”

 

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