US House passes bill to ban Chinese social media TikTok, headed for Senate’s approval

Public TV English
Public TV English
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WASHINGTON : The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that could ban Chinese social media TikTok for US users, CNN reported.

But the fate of the bill lies in the US Senate. A bill needs to pass in both the House and the Senate before it can be sent to the president to be signed into law.

At the US House, the vote was 352-65, with 15 Republicans and 50 Democrats voting against the bill.

Notably, India was one of the first countries to ban TikTok, citing ‘security concerns’.

The Union government banned TikTok, along with several other Chinese apps, in June 2020 over ‘national security concerns’. Before the ban, the app had about 150 million monthly active users in India.

Following this, Nepal also announced a ban on the China-owned video-sharing app TikTok, citing its negative efforts on ‘social harmony’.

Moreover, concerning the security issues with the TikTok app, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Afghanistan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway have imposed partial or complete bans, respectively, on the video-sharing app.

Chinese social media platform TikTok does not have any provisions to remove offensive content. TikTok is already banned in over 50 countries.

Notably, the passage of the bill through the GOP-controlled House comes as former President Donald Trump has signalled opposition to a ban.

The bill would prohibit TikTok from US app stores unless the social media platform — used by roughly 170 million Americans — is spun off from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, as reported by CNN.

Reacting over the ban, TikTok said in a statement that its attention would now shift to the Senate, where the fate of the legislation is unclear.
It slammed House lawmakers’ fast-tracking of the bill and their decision to hold a closed-door briefing for members last week that highlighted the app’s ‘national security concerns’.

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service,” it added.

Last year, Senate lawmakers proposed legislation clamping down on TikTok but triggered concerns that it could give the executive branch too much power.

Efforts to ban TikTok date back to the Trump administration, which used a series of executive orders to try to force app stores not to offer TikTok and to compel ByteDance to spin off the company.

The efforts were stalled amid legal challenges, though it led TikTok to engage in negotiations with the US government about how it could secure Americans’ data. But, the talks are ongoing, even as TikTok has moved to store US user data on US-based servers controlled by the tech giant Oracle, CNN reported. (ANI)

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