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China just proved why Congress wants to ban TikTok

Madison Hall   

China just proved why Congress wants to ban TikTok
  • A bill to force ByteDance to divest from TikTok is making its way through Congress.
  • Legislators are concerned about ByteDance's ties to China given how much user data Tiktok collects.

China proved the point of the TikTok ban bill through Congress after officials from the Chinese Embassy reportedly lobbied against it recently.

News of the adversarial nation's pressure against the bill was reported Wednesday by Politico after more than a year of congressional deliberation on the matter. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill in mid-March that, if enacted, would require TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to divest from the app within 180 days or risk getting banned in the US.

The heart of the concerns against the massive social media app stems from ByteDance's reported ties to the Chinese government. Critics of ByteDance — including former TikTok employees — have accused the company of funneling sensitive US user information to China even after TikTok assured lawmakers its bevy of data from American users was safe.

On top of that, surveys have shown that TikTok's more than 100 million monthly American users turn to the platform for news. Given recent reports of China using social media to influence elections in Taiwan, congressional officials like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have voiced their concerns that China could use TikTok to meddle in the upcoming 2024 elections.

TikTok itself has waged an all-out war against the proposed legislation in recent months, prompting its US-based users to reach out to their local legislators to vote against it — even CEO Shou Zi Chew traveled to Washington, DC, to join the lobbying effort.

Members of Congress were already reportedly frustrated by TikTok's digital plea to users before the House voted on the ban. The Chinese Embassy's private pressure against the bill will likely only solidify the legislative body's disdain for TikTok.

President Joe Biden has said he'll sign the bill if it makes it to his desk, even though it could hurt his reelection bid.

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