U.S. Senate passes bill to force TikTok to be sold or banned


The US Senate has approved a Bill, giving nod to a ban on the popular short-form video app TikTok if its China-based parent company ‘ByteDance’ refuses to sell it. The US Senate passed the bill 79-18 on Tuesday after the House passed it with an overwhelming majority last weekend.

The move by the US Senate, however, may face challenges from the video content creators within the country who rely on TikTok for income.

TikTok, which has more than 170 million American users, didn’t immediately comment but Michael Beckerman, its head of public policy for the Americas, said that the company plans to challenge the move in court, IANS reported.

“The stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” he said in a memo to TikTok’s US staff, IANS added.

The bill gives TikTok owner Bytedance nine months’ time to force a sale, with a 90-day extension.

In a White House statement, Biden said that a bipartisan majority in the Senate joined the House to answer “history’s call at this critical inflection point”.

During the passage of the Bill, Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell said, “Congress is not acting to punish ByteDance, TikTok or any other individual company. Congress is acting to prevent foreign adversaries from conducting espionage, surveillance, maligned operations, harming vulnerable Americans, our servicemen and women, and our US government personnel.”

“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” said the US President.

“The need is urgent: for Ukraine, facing unrelenting bombardment from Russia; for Israel, which just faced unprecedented attacks from Iran; for refugees and those impacted by conflicts and natural disasters around the world, including in Gaza, Sudan, and Haiti; and for our partners seeking security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” he elaborated.

Indian American Incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi from the Democratic Party was also instrumental in writing the new TikTok law, indica had reported earlier this month.

“As the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, I am the proud author of legislation which recently passed the US House overwhelmingly with 352 votes. Specifically, this bill forces Bytedance, a company which is totally beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, to divest TikTok so that our foreign adversary does not have control over the algorithms and the data of nearly 170 million Americans,” he said.

Krishnamoorthi faces a lot of challenges, though.

“Bytedance is a multi-billion-dollar company that is directly tied to the Chinese Communist Party. They spent $9 million just last year on federal lobbying expenses, which is an exorbitant amount. Our system is set up in a way in which it is very challenging to defeat multi-billion-dollar corporate interests; but rest assured, I will never stop fighting for what is right to protect the health and security of our children,” he averred.

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