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BREAKING: House Passes Bill to Ban the App or Force TikTok Sale to American Ownership 

Safeguarding National Security: House Supports Bill for TikTok’s U.S. Sale

In a noteworthy legislative action, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan consensus. The endorsed law would pressure the Chinese company that owns the viral video platform TikTok, either to relinquish ownership or face a potential ban on its U.S. operations. This development marks an intensification in the clash between the U.S. and China over various technological domains integral to national security, freedom of speech, and the flourishing social media sphere.

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Guided chiefly by Republican leaders, the bill was fast-tracked and passed in the House. The vote tally was a commanding 352 to 65, respectively, reflecting a widespread endorsement of the legislation aimed at safeguarding U.S. interests. This decisive move took billing during the heated election year, further ingraining the importance of the East-West dynamic in the public consciousness.

The approval of the bill occurred against the backdrop of TikTok’s attempts to rally its substantial U.S. user base—totaling 170 million—to protest the legislation. Concurrently, the Biden administration has been making convincing arguments to lawmakers about the potential national security risks stemming from Chinese control of such a prominent platform, such as the potential to influence U.S. elections.

With the continued expansion of TikTok’s user base and influence, concrete steps towards addressing these concerns have become imperative. The resultant legislation thus secured the backing of a bipartisan coalition, consisting of Republicans who broke with previous President Donald J. Trump to support the bill, and Democrats who followed President Biden’s supportive stance.

However, the journey of the bill is not quite over, as it faces some hurdles in the Senate. The Majority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has remained neutral on whether the bill will be presented for a vote. Several senators have also indicated resistance to the proposed legislation.

Moreover, the passage of the bill into law, even if the Senate approves it, is not definitive. Various legal issues significantly complicate its future. Notwithstanding these complications, the House voting in favor represents the first authorization by a congressional chamber of a measure that could bring about a generalized ban on TikTok’s usage within U.S. borders.

The parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, has been under increasing scrutiny since 2020. U.S. policymakers emphasize that ByteDance’s kinship with the Chinese government could pose serious risks to national security.

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The primary objective of the bill is to pressurize ByteDance into selling TikTok to owners outside of China within a six-month window. Such a move would help allay concerns related to national security. According to the legislation, the U.S. president would approve of this sale if it adequately addresses all such security concerns.

Failing to effectuate a satisfactory sale within this stipulated time frame could possibly lead to the application being proscribed within the U.S. The impending legislation and its potential outcomes constitute a seismic moment for social media platforms and legislation concerning national security in general, and for U.S.-China tech relations, in particular.

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