Bill to potentially ban TikTok in US advances in Congress

The US House of Representatives approved a bill Saturday that would force the wildly popular social media app TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company ByteDance or be shut out of the American market.

US and other Western officials have voiced alarm over the popularity of TikTok with young people, alleging that it allows Beijing to spy on users. It has 170 million in the United States alone.

These critics also say TikTok is subservient to Beijing and a conduit to spread propaganda. China and the company deny these claims.

The bill, which could trigger the rare step of barring a company from operating in the US market, now goes to the Senate for a vote next week. It passed the House on Saturday with strong bipartisan support, by a margin of 360 to 58.

President Joe Biden has stated he will sign the legislation. He reiterated his concerns about TikTok in a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping early this month.

The ultimatum to the social media app was included in a broader text that provides aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Under the bill, ByteDance would have to sell the app within a year or be excluded from Apple and Google's app stores in the United States.

"Doing so would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression," said Musk.


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