Spread the love

After a vote in Congress, the threat of a ban on TikTok in the United States becomes clearer

Photo: Anna Moneymaker Getty Images via AFP Representatives and members of the public demonstrated outside Congress on Tuesday to oppose the bill that could result in a ban on TikTok.

Alex Pigman – Agence France-Presse and Thomas Urbain – Agence France-Presse in Washington and New York

7:51 p.m.

  • United States

The US House of Representatives adopted a bill on Wednesday which provides for the banning of TikTok in the United States if the social network does not cut ties with its parent company, ByteDance, and more broadly with China.

This is a major development for the platform, which did not seem threatened until a few days ago, even if the outcome of the upcoming vote in the Senate remains uncertain.

TikTok has been in the crosshairs of American authorities for several months, with many officials believing that the short and entertaining video platform allows Beijing to spy on and manipulate its 170 million users in the United States .

The company has repeatedly denied having transmitted information to Chinese authorities and assured that it would refuse any possible request in this regard.

The text of the law, adopted by a large majority of 352 votes out of 432 elected officials, “does not ban TikTok”, argued the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, who voted for the proposal.

“It aims to resolve legitimate national security and data protection concerns related to the Chinese Communist Party's dealings with a social network,” he explained in a statement.

“This process was carried out in secret and the text presented urgently for one reason: it is a ban, reacted a TikTok spokesperson to AFP. We hope that the Senate will take the facts into account, listen to its constituents and realize the impact [that a ban would have] on the economy. »

“Today's vote, which brought together elected officials from both parties, shows Congress' opposition to Communist China's attempts to spy and manipulate Americans and is a sign of our resolve to deter our enemies,” said Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Ahead of the vote, China had indicated that a ban would undermine “the confidence of international investors” and would amount, for the world's leading power, to “shooting itself in the foot”, according to a diplomatic spokesperson. Chinese, lambasting “intimidation” against TikTok.

The fate of the bill is uncertain in the Senate, where prominent figures oppose such a radical measure against an extremely popular application.

The leader of the Democrats in the upper house, Chuck Schumer, simply took note of the vote on Wednesday, without commenting on the text.

US President Joe Biden said that if passed in the Senate, he would sign the text into law.

The proposed law would require ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, to sell the app within 180 days or it would be barred from Apple and Google's app stores in the United States.< /p>

No potential buyer has yet officially come forward. The Wall Street Journal reports that the former boss of video game publisher Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, has expressed interest in ByteDance co-founder Zhang Yiming .

The value of TikTok is difficult to estimate, particularly in the case of a forced sale. In 2020, ByteDance set its price at $60 billion when Donald Trump's government wanted to force it to sell it, according to Bloomberg.

Also read

  • Trump against a ban on TikTok in the United States
  • Has redemption time come for TikTok ?

Freedom of expression

Several US states and the federal government have banned the app's use on government officials' official devices, citing national security risks.

The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, is in Washington, where he is trying to build support to block the bill.

Former US President Donald Trump (2017-2021) reversed course by saying on Monday that he was opposed to a ban, mainly because it would strengthen Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, which he called of “enemy of the people”.

In 2020, the real estate developer, then president of the United States, attempted to wrest control of TikTok from ByteDance before being prevented from doing so by the American courts.

Mr. Trump has refuted accusations that he changed his tune because a major TikTok investor, Jeff Yass, threatened to stop helping fund Republican election campaigns.

Other attempts to ban TikTok have also failed, with a bill proposed a year ago failing to succeed, primarily due to free speech concerns.

As for the current proposal, “it is too general a text, which will not stand up to the examination of the first amendment” to the American Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression, reacted the elected Democrat in the House Ro Khanna.

A law passed in May by the state of Montana (northwest) to ban the platform was suspended by a federal court in November on the grounds that it violated constitutional rights to freedom of speech. 'expression.

“The other problem is that a lot of people make a living on this platform” in the United States, Ro Khanna added to reporters.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116