House Takes Step Toward TikTok Restrictions

The House of Representatives cleared a significant hurdle in an effort to either shut down the popular social media app TikTok or force its Chinese owner ByteDance to sell the company. The move came after a similar effort during the Trump administration to restrict the app after fears of American data falling into Chinese hands.

The bill would require ByteDance to sell its control of the app within one year. Should ByteDance not comply the popular app would be banned in the country.

Following the passage of the measure in the House the Senate will consider the bill in the near future. The bill’s passage in the Senate is likely and should it make it through it will go to President Joe Biden for a potential signature.

During the previous effort to restrict TikTok during the Trump administration, the company weighed offers from American companies including Microsoft. However, the deal was never finalized.

The bill received significant support from both parties on Saturday.

The app has about 170 million users in the United States. ByteDance has denied any wrongdoing and said that it does not share its information with the Chinese government.

There have been loud voices on either side of the debate. A number of Republicans said that the risk of ByteDance transferring data to the Chinese Communist Party was unacceptable.

Previous research found that ByteDance had retained information related to Americans’ personal data, including social security numbers. In another case, the company allegedly tracked Chinese users to see if they liked or viewed videos about sensitive political or social topics.

However, former President Donald Trump expressed skepticism about the effort, stating earlier this year that he did not want the potential for TikTok’s demise to help Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Trump disagreed with how Facebook handled elements of the 2020 election.

Despite the possible advantage the TikTok restriction may offer for his company, X owner Elon Musk said that he opposed the potential forced sale of the company.