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House votes to ban TikTok in US unless Chinese owner ByteDance sells to American company

Katie Balevic   

House votes to ban TikTok in US unless Chinese owner ByteDance sells to American company
  • The House voted in favor of a bill that could result in an American ban on TikTok.
  • The bill would force TikTok owner ByteDance to sell to an American company or face a ban.

The House advanced legislation on Saturday that could lead to a TikTok ban in the United States.

The bill forces TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, to secure American ownership in about a year or face a domestic ban. Earlier versions of the legislation gave ByteDance just six months to find a new owner.

To fast-track the bipartisan legislation, House Speaker Mike Johnson combined it with a bill to allow the US to confiscate Russian assets, then bundled it into a package containing aid bills for Taiwain, Israel, and Ukraine, which have all been delayed for months amid congressional infighting.

That package of legislation will head to the Senate in a matter of days, where it's likely to pass. In February, the Senate approved a similar $95.3 billion package that did not include the TikTok bill.

American politicians have for years expressed security concerns over TikTok because ByteDance is obligated to share data with the Chinese government. TikTok has an estimated 170 million users in the United States alone.

Toward the end of his presidency, former President Donald Trump sought to ban the app. He has since flipped on the issue, arguing that TikTok's demise could bolster Meta, Facebook's parent company, which he referred to as "an enemy of the people."

President Joe Biden has signaled his intent to sign the legislation next week if it passes the Senate. Even though the legislation could result in a forced sale instead of a full-on ban, TikTok's company leadership is fearing the worst and is expected to challenge it in court. Legal challenges could also come from TikTok's users and creators.

"This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States," a ByteDance spokesperson said last month.


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