US House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok Or Force Owner To Divest

The United States (US) House of Representatives has passed a bill that could lead to a nationwide ban on Tiktok, popular video-sharing application, owned by a China-based company.

The House voted Wednesday to pass legislation that could ban TikTok as Republicans and Democrats sound the alarm that the application is a threat to national security.

About 352 lawmakers voted in favour of the proposed law and 65 (Fifty Democrats and 15 Republicans) against the bill.

Speaker Mike Johnson, said in a statement after the vote, warning that TikTok could be used to access American data and spread “harmful” information.

He said: “Communist China is America’s largest geopolitical foe and is using technology to actively undermine America’s economy and security.

“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.”

The Democratic senator Mark Warner, who proposed a separate bill last year to give the White House new powers over TikTok, said he had “some concerns about the constitutionality of an approach that names specific companies”, but will take “a close look at this bill.”

READ ALSO: US Bans TikTok On Lawmakers’ Official Phones

The White House has backed the legislation, with the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, saying the administration wants “to see this bill get done so it can get to the president’s desk”.

Lawmakers say TikTok’s owner, ByteDance has links with the Chinese Communist Party – something denied by ByteDance and TikTok

TikTok, owned by China-based parent company ByteDance, has mounted an aggressive lobbying campaign to kill the legislation, 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.

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

President Joe Biden will sign the bill, known officially as the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” into law if it gets to his desk, the White House has said.