US House passes another bill that could ban TikTok; US Senate could vote on it next week

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TikTok logo with AI in the background

Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that might have banned the use of TikTok in the country. That bill ended up languishing in the US Senate. However, the US House voted today to approve another bill that will have the same effect if signed into law.

CNN reports that the US House voted 360-58 in favor of the bill. This version, if made into law, would require that the China-based parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, to sell off its interest in the social media service within 270 days. The previous bill would have required the sell-off to happen within six months.

In addition, the new bill gives US President Joe Biden the right to add a 90-day extension for the sell-off to happen, if he determines there’s been progress in reaching such a deal. If such a sale does not happen, the TikTok app could be banned from US app stores.

As with the earlier version, this new bill received bipartisan support in the US House because the majority of its members believe that ByteDance could gather personal data via TikTok that could be sent over and used by the Chinese government

The US House added the TikTok bill as part of a package deal that also included funding for military aid to Israel and Ukraine. That package has now been sent to the US Senate for its approval. By throwing in the TikTok bill in that same package, this forces the US Senate to possibly approve all of these bills at once.

CNN says that, according to its policy analysts, the US Senate is expected to vote on the package quickly, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, as approving the military aid to Israel and Ukraine is considered a top priority. Paul Gallant, a policy analyst at the market research firm Cowen Inc, is quoted as saying, “We believe TikTok is unlikely to get stripped from the larger package.”

If the US Senate votes and approves of the TikTok bill, it will then be sent to President Biden for his approval. Biden has already indicated that he would sign such a bill if it came to his desk.

ByteDance has already been protesting both the earlier bill and this newest version as violations of the First Amendment. In a post on its X (formerly Twitter) account on Wednesday before today’s passage of the new US House bill, it stated:

It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually.

It’s likely that if President Biden signs the bill into law, ByteDance could file a lawsuit against it on First Amendment grounds, like it already has done for a similar bill passed against the use of TikTok in the state of Montana.

News Article Courtesy Of John Callaham »