Home News U.S. House Passes Bill Requiring ByteDance to Sell TikTok or Face Ban

U.S. House Passes Bill Requiring ByteDance to Sell TikTok or Face Ban


In a significant development this afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that mandates TikTok-owner ByteDance to divest the popular social media app or risk its prohibition in the United States.

Efforts to address TikTok’s presence in the U.S. date back to the Trump Administration, with renewed attention on the issue in recent months. The House had previously passed a similar bill in March, although the Senate displayed limited interest in considering it. The latest iteration of the bill extends the timeframe for ByteDance to sell TikTok to nine months, compared to the six-month period stipulated in the previous version. Additionally, it grants the president the authority to authorize a single, 90-day extension.

These adjustments seem to have garnered support from some Senate skeptics. Senate Commerce chair Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) indicated on Thursday that she had proposed the extension, believing it enhances the likelihood of a divestiture.

The bill, passing with a resounding 360-58 vote, received strong bipartisan backing from both Republicans and Democrats. It forms part of a broader legislative package encompassing foreign aid to countries like Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Its inclusion is viewed as a strategic move by House Speaker Mike Johnson to attract further conservative support.

The Senate is expected to consider the package in the upcoming week, with President Joe Biden expressing his support for the bill and his intention to sign it into law. Should this occur, TikTok is anticipated to challenge the legislation in court.

The Biden administration has been briefing lawmakers on the perceived national security risks associated with the app, citing concerns over data privacy and the potential for Chinese government influence. House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) characterized TikTok as “a spy balloon in Americans’ phones,” alleging it serves as a conduit for surveilling and exploiting personal information.

Upon the resurgence of discussions surrounding the TikTok bill earlier this week, the company issued a statement decrying the House’s actions, accusing lawmakers of using unrelated legislation to push through a ban that would infringe upon the free speech rights of millions of Americans and adversely impact businesses.

The fate of TikTok in the United States hinges on the Senate’s deliberations on the bill in the days ahead.