TikTok ban passes the House (again), with a few major differences from Mashable

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A bill that could eventually ban TikTok is again on its way to the Senate for approval, having passed the House for a second time in as many months.

An earlier version of the bill, which would also require TikTok’s Chinese parent company to either sell the video app or face a ban in the U.S., passed the House in March but stalled in the Senate.

The revised version of the “TikTok ban” legislation has now been packaged with critical aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as part of an effort to draw enough bipartisan support in the Senate. It has also been updated with a key timeline shift: TikTok owner ByteDance would now need to sell the platform in nine months instead of six, before the government would enforce its “ban” on the app. And the President now has the option to grant a single 90-day extension to that nine month deadline. In all, these changes essentially double ByteDance’s runway from six to 12 months.

With these updates, the bill passed 360-58 in the House on April 20, and could pass the Senate as early as this week. Then it would go to President Biden, who has vowed to sign it into law.

The idea of “banning” the app began under President Trump, but has been taken up in earnest by Congressional lawmakers and President Biden, who claim that China could use the app to disseminate propaganda or misinformation via the app’s algorithmic feeds. Although the President has expressed unequivocal support for the idea of banning TikTok, he still uses the platform: his re-election campaign opened an account on TikTok in February.

On the House floor yesterday, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said that TikTok is tantamount to “a spy balloon in Americans’ phones” which can “surveil and exploit America’s personal information.”

TikTok has denied these claims and underscored the app’s impact on everyday Americans, telling USA Today that, “It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually.”

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