Bipartisan House Bill to Ban TikTok if Chinese Parent Company Does Not Divest

What to Know:

A House Bill has been introduced, named the “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” which will ban TikTok unless its Chinese parent company ByteDance fully divests and severs ties with the app.

The Bill:

The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and was backed by 18 other Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

The Bill seeks to “protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications, such as TikTok and any successor application or service and any other application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Ltd. or an entity under the control of ByteDance Ltd.”

ByteDance, like many companies in China, maintains ties with the CCP, raising concerns that the personal data obtained through the app could be accessed by the Chinese government or military. TikTok has maintained that user data is not a risk.

According to a statement by the Select Committee on the CCP, the Bill has three main components:

  • Unless TikTok is fully divested such that it is no longer controlled by a PRC-based entity, the application will face a prohibition in the U.S. from app store availability and web hosting services until such time as a divestment occurs.
  • Establishes a process for the President to designate other foreign adversary controlled social media applications that shall face a prohibition on app store availability and access to web hosting services in the United States unless they sever ties to the foreign adversary-controlled company. The President may exercise this authority if:
    • An application presents a national security threat
    • Has over one million annual active users
    • And is under the control of a foreign adversary entity

*NOTE: This would allow for other apps controlled by Russian, Iranian, Cuban, and Venezuelan companies to be subject to the Bill*

  • Designated applications must provide users with a copy of their data in a format that can be imported into an alternative social media application. All users would be able to download their data and content and transition to another platform.

Reactions:

Chairman Gallagher stated that “This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users,” adding “America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States. TikTok’s time in the United States is over unless it ends its relationship with CCP-controlled ByteDance.”

“So long as it is owned by ByteDance and thus required to collaborate with the CCP, TikTok poses critical threats to our national security. Our bipartisan legislation would protect American social media users by driving the divestment of foreign adversary-controlled apps to ensure that Americans are protected from the digital surveillance and influence operations of regimes that could weaponize their personal data against them. Whether it’s Russia or the CCP, this bill ensures the President has the tools he needs to press dangerous apps to divest and defend Americans’ security and privacy against our adversaries,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi.

“Not only is the CCP-controlled TikTok an immense national security risk to our country, it is also poisoning the minds of our youth every day on a massive scale. China is our enemy, and we need to start acting like it,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) “I am proud to partner with Representatives Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi on this bipartisan bill to ban the distribution of TikTok in the US. This legislation will make our country better off and more secure.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) added that “The Chinese Communist Party has made it abundantly clear that it is willing to leverage technology to collect data on our children and all US citizens. Using TikTok, China has the ability to control what an entire generation of kids sees and consumes every single day.”

“It’s time we fight back against TikTok’s information invasion against America’s families. In the wrong hands, this data is an enormous asset to the Chinese Communist Party — a known adversary — and their malign activities.”

Cyber Threats:

In 2022, House of Representatives’ Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor has issued a cyber advisory for TikTok, saying that the popular social media platform is “a high-risk to users due to its lack of transparency in how it protects customer data, its requirement of excessive permissions, and the potential security risks involved with its use.”

“Additionally, we believe the user base should be aware that this application is known to store users’ Data location, Photos, and other Personal Identifiable Information (PII) in servers located in China and potentially mined for commercial and private purposes,” the advisory also added, “TikTok actively harvests content for identifiable data. TikTok “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws,” including “faceprints” and “voiceprints,” from videos users upload to their platform.”

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Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.
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