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The House of Representatives has passed a bill that could lead to a ban of TikTok in the United States.

 Should the proposed legislation be enacted, the Chinese proprietor of the widely-used video-sharing application will be allotted a period of nine months to divest its ownership interest. This period may be extended by an additional three months if a sale is underway, failing which the app may be subjected to prohibition.

If the Chinese owner of TikTok doesn't divest its interest in the social media platform, the app may face a ban in the United States, following a vote by the House of Representatives endorsing this action.

Legislation concerning TikTok was encompassed within a United States foreign policy bundle that resulted in lawmakers sanctioning the allocation of $60.8 billion in foreign assistance to Ukraine, alongside additional funds designated for Israel and Taiwan.

The package will now go to the US Senate, where it is likely to be passed on Tuesday. President Joe Biden has said he would sign the TikTok legislation once it reaches his desk.

Should the proposed legislation be enacted, the proprietor of the well-known video-sharing application will be granted a period of nine months to secure a purchaser. An additional extension of up to three months could be granted if the sale is underway, failing which the app may be prohibited.

The House previously approved legislation that would compel ByteDance, the parent company, to divest its ownership within six months.

ByteDance is expected to seek legal recourse, contending that the enactment of this law would infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the app's numerous users, a right that safeguards freedom of expression. Such legal disputes have the potential to significantly postpone the schedule established by Congress or even prevent the enactment of the law entirely.

TikTok expressed its disappointment in a statement, criticizing the House of Representatives for exploiting the guise of critical foreign and humanitarian aid to push through legislation that would suppress the free expression of 170 million Americans. The company also highlighted the severe impact such a ban would have, including crippling seven million businesses and closing down a platform that injects $24 billion into the United States economy each year.

The CEO of TikTok has directly urged American users to take action to prevent the passage of the legislation.

Shou Zi Chew has made a commitment to users via a video posted on the platform, stating, "Our fight and advocacy on your behalf will persist. We will exhaust every option, including the pursuit of our legal entitlements, to safeguard this extraordinary community that we've established together."

Worries that information might be disclosed to the Chinese capital

The FBI has raised alarms about the potential for ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to hand over personal user information, which could include web activity, geographical data, and biometric details, to the Chinese government. Despite these concerns, TikTok has consistently stated that it has not and would not transfer such data if requested.

President Biden took action in 2022 by prohibiting TikTok on devices owned by federal agencies, affecting close to four million government workers. Exceptions are made for specific roles involving law enforcement, national security, and security research. The legislation passed also enables the US to confiscate assets from the Russian central bank that have been frozen to aid in Ukraine's reconstruction and to enforce sanctions against Iran, Russia, and China. Additionally, it targets criminal groups involved in the trafficking of the opioid fentanyl.


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