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Bill regulating TikTok unanimously passes House committee

The bill gives TikTok's China-based parent company, ByteDance, 165 days to sell the social media platform.

Published: March 7, 2024 5:54pm

A bipartisan bill that will regulate TikTok was unanimously passed on Thursday by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee. 

The bill gives TikTok's China-based parent company, ByteDance, 165 days to sell the social media platform. Lawmakers said the bill could be taken up by the House in the coming weeks. 

"This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States," the company said after the vote, according to Reuters. "The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country." 

Congress members had a closed-door meeting on national security concerns regarding the Chinese ownership of TikTok prior to the vote. 

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Thursday that he hopes the law "will force divestment of TikTok and Americans will be able to continue to use this and other similarly situated platforms without the risk that they are being operated and controlled by our adversaries," according to the outlet. 

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who introduced the legislation with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said, "TikTok could live on and people could do whatever they want on it provided there is that separation. It is not a ban - think of this as a surgery designed to remove the tumor and thereby save the patient in the process." 

At least two House offices have said that they've received calls from U.S. children threatening suicide if the bill passes, according to The Spectator

Congressional staffers also said that callers have told them that they are being forced to make the call in order to use the app, per CNBC

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that the Biden administration wants "to see this bill get done so it can get to the president's desk." 

TikTok has said that it doesn’t share Americans' user data with the Chinese government. 

Last November, a judge blocked Montana’s state ban on TikTok, citing free speech violations against the app’s users. 

Former President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok in 2020 but was blocked by courts. 

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