U.S. Senate approves bill seeking TikTok ban

The U.S. Senate has approved a contentious landmark bill that could see TikTok banned in the country.

It gives ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese owner, nine months to sell its stake before the app is blocked in the United States.
The bill will now be delivered to US President Joe Biden, who has stated that he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk.

ByteDance informed the BBC that it did not have an immediate response to the move. Previously, the company stated that it would oppose any efforts to force it to sell TikTok.
If the US is successful in forcing ByteDance to sell TikTok, any deal will still require approval from Chinese officials, but Beijing has vowed to oppose any such move.

The measure was passed as part of a package of four bills that also included military aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other US partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
It had widespread support from lawmakers, with 79 senators voting for it and 18 against it.
“For years, we’ve allowed the Chinese Communist Party to control one of the most popular apps in America that was dangerously shortsighted,” said Senator Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee.
“A new law is going to require its Chinese owner to sell the app. This is a good move for America,” he added.

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Fears that data about millions of Americans could land in China’s hands have driven Congressional efforts to split TikTok from the Beijing-based company.
Last week, the social media company said the bill would “trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate seven million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the US economy annually.”

TikTok has said ByteDance “is not an agent of China or any other country.” And ByteDance insists it is not a Chinese firm, pointing to the global investment firms that own 60% of it.
Its chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, said last month that the company will continue to do all it can, including exercising its “legal rights” to protect the platform.

Mr. Shou was grilled by Congress twice in less than a year and downplayed the app’s connection—and his personal links—to Chinese authorities.
The social media platform made efforts to rally support against the potential ban, including a major lobbying campaign.
It also encouraged TikTok users and creators to express their opposition to the bill.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told the BBC that a prolonged legal battle is likely to follow and that it “could take about two years.”.
He also said that if a buyer for ByteDance’s stake is not found within the nine-month period, it could delay any action against TikTok in the US further.

Credible news.ng

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