House Passes Bill To Force TikTok Prohibition

On March 13, 2024, the United States House passed legislation that would prohibit popular video application TikTok if its China-based owner doesn’t sell the property.

This push for a TikTok ban has largely been spurred by national security concerns, especially with current ownership which is suspected to be connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

The bill was passed by a vote margin of 352-65. It is currently in the Senate, where its fate remains to be seen.

TikTok has over 150 million American users. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of ByteDance Ltd, a Chinese technology company.

The elected officials argue that ByteDance is intimately linked to the Chinese government, which could request that it have access to the data of TikTok’s American consumers whenever it wants. The worry comes from several Chinese national security laws that compel organizations to aid with intelligence gathering.

“We have given TikTok a clear choice,” declared Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “Separate from your parent company ByteDance, which is beholden to the CCP (the Chinese Communist Party), and remain operational in the United States, or side with the CCP and face the consequences. The choice is TikTok’s.”

President Joe Biden has gone on record to indicate if Congress passes the bill, he will sign it into law.

Several Republicans have opposed this prohibition.  

.”The answer to authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism,” said California Congressman Tom McClintock. “The answer to CCP-style propaganda is not CCP-style oppression. Let us slow down before we blunder down this very steep and slippery slope.”

TikTok has rejected claims that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese Communist Party. The company claimed that it has never shared American user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it requested.

Former President Donald Trump has manifested opposition to the TikTok ban. He said on March 11 that he still believes TikTok constitutes a national security risk but is against prohibiting the  popular application due to how it would help its rival in Facebook, which he continues to criticize over the alleged role it played in his 2020 election loss.

While in the Oval Office president, Trump tried to prohibit TikTok via an executive order that described “the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China)” a threat to “the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.” The courts would later block the action after TikTok filed a lawsuit, contending that such actions would infringe on free speech and due process rights.

TikTok should not be banned but it should ultimately be regulated so as to protect the US from noxious foreign influences. The app is very popular among the youth and trying to undermine it would prevent national populists from spreading a contrary message.

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