TikTok ban inches closer as bill passes the Senate 


The app is currently used by over 170 million users in the US 

The US Senate has voted 79-18 to pass a landmark bill to force TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell the company or face a ban in the US. The bill gives ByteDance nine months to sell its 60% stake in TikTok, or the app will be blocked for use in the US.  

President Biden has already said that he will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk. 

The bill stems from US concern that TikTok’s algorithm is powered by ByteDance, a Chinese company that could theoretically be forced to share US citizen’s data with the Chinese Communist Party.  

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has refuted these claims, telling a congressional hearing in January that he has “seen no evidence” that the Chinese government has access to that US data.  

“They have never asked us for it,” said Chew. 

In a recent congressional hearing, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) put it to Chew that “under Chinese intelligence law, all information accumulated in the People’s Republic of China are required to be shared with the Chinese intelligence services”.   

In order to comply with the new bill, ByteDance would require approval from the Chinese government to sell its stake in the firm. China has already indicated it will vehemently oppose attempts from the US to ban the app and will not agree to sell its stake.  

As a result, if President Biden does sign the bill, ByteDance is expected to take legal action, further embedding the company in a legal quagmire . 

The Trump Administration attempted to force ByteDance to divest of TikTok in 2020, though this was ultimately blocked by the courts. 

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