‘TikTok Ban’ Bill Passes House, Unclear Future in Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Is it time up for TikTok? The House passed a bill that could ban the popular app if it doesn’t divest from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. 

The legislation had strong bipartisan support for the most part. The bill said TikTok could be banned if it’s China-based owner, ByteDance, doesn’t sell it’s stake. Members worry the Chinese government could demand access to TikTok’s data anytime it wants. That data could include info on the millions of Americans that use the app.  

Some opponents to the bill said the US should warn consumers if there are privacy and propaganda concerns and that the final decision to use the app should be left up to consumers. They also argue the bill infringes on freedom of speech. Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly (R- PA) said one of the best things about America is freedom of speech, but adds we need to be responsible with that speech.   

 “Look we put things out there and ask people to take a look and make a decision and then follow that guideline but this is pretty clear: this is a clear and present danger to America and America’s future by going after America’s youth,” said Rep. Kelly. “In a certain part of our population that is not given the choice between two different things and saying ‘oh don’t let them take this away from us its essential’ and it is essential, to the Chinese. All we’ve told them is you can still have TikTok but not the way you have it structured. You still want to have a presence here but we want to make sure its owned by the right people.”   

“Some of us are concerned that there are first amendment implications here,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). “Americans have the right to view information. We don’t need to be protected by the government from information. Some of us just don’t want the president picking which apps we can put on our phones or which websites we can visit. We don’t think that’s appropriate. We also think it’s dangerous to give the president that kind of power, to give him the power to decide what Americans can see on their phones and their computers.”  

The bill’s future in the Senate is unclear. The President has said if congress passes it, he will sign it.