TikTok Ban Is Now in View, as House Passes Bill

The prospect of a U.S. TikTok ban just got real.

On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed a set of bills that includes a mandate demanding that China’s ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, sell the social video platform over national security concerns.

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The vote — which passed at 360-58 — came after House Republicans bundled the bill with another measure pledging aid to Israel and Ukraine. The matter now goes to the Senate.

This is the second time in recent weeks that TikTok is seeing its fate hang in the balance. In March, the House approved a previous version of the bill, and President Joe Biden indicated that he would sign off once it reaches his desk, but it stalled in the Senate. This time, House Republicans stuffed it into a package with foreign aid, hoping the gambit would compel the Senate to pass it quickly this time.

The new version of the bill and the previous one are not identical. The current bill lays out an extended deadline for TikTok to find a new owner, before mandating U.S. app stores to boot the app. Instead of six months, the developer would have nine months.

The change was introduced to address concerns over the viability of such a short timeframe. In its new incarnation and as part of the aid package, Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson hopes to see swift passage of the bundle.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consider the bill a protective measure to safeguard the personal data of Americans, more than 170 million of whom use the platform, by keeping it out of the hands of the Chinese government.

The counterarguments, however, are many.

Critics see the bill as a draconian move that violates the business’ First Amendment rights. Gen Z and younger fans dread the prospect of a future without TikTok.

But brands, content creators and other influencers who depend on the platform for its reach, visibility and highly engaged user base fear the effect on their businesses.

Some brands rose to prominence on the platform, while established companies use it to expand into new audiences. They’ve grown dependent on its booming creator economy, ad business, the TikTok Shop commerce arm and the service’s command of trends, with hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.

Now they and other marketing experts are racing to make sense of what may be a dramatic shift, as the latest bill plows forward.

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