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Senate Passes Bill Forcing TikTok’s Parent Company to Sell or Face Ban

The House passed a bill that bans TikTok or forces it's sale to American parent company in nine months with a possible three month extension.

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On a Tuesday the Senate gave the light to a bill that aims to restrict the use of TikTok, a popular video app signifying a significant move, towards government oversight of social media. The bill is expected to become law.

This new legislation is part of a $95 billion foreign aid bill and mandates that ByteDance, the Chinese based parent company of TikTok must sell the app within one year. Failure to comply will lead to the app being removed from U.S. App stores and web hosting services.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives showed support for this measure. The Senate passed it with a 79-18 vote while the House approved the TikTok related section with a 360-58 vote. President Joe Biden has signaled his intention to endorse this bill.

Advocates of this policy argue that TikTok poses national security risks. Lawmakers, who have received intelligence briefings from the Biden administration are concerned about surveillance and propaganda dissemination by the government through the app. Currently around 170 million Americans are users, on TikTok.

“We are giving people a choice here: To improve this platform and have the opportunity for Americans to make sure that they are not being maligned by our foreign adversaries,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, on the Senate floor Thursday.

TikTok says that the Chinese government has not requested data from users and even if such a request were made TikTok claims it would not comply. The company argues that the proposed legislation infringes on Americans right to speech and warns that banning the app could harm businesses that rely on it for marketing purposes.

There has been no evidence suggesting that TikTok is used for surveillance of citizens. Nevertheless reports from sources indicate that TikTok’s U.S. Operations have encountered difficulties, in separating from its Chinese parent company.