TikTok faces fresh calls for potential ban by U.S. Senators

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TikTok faces fresh calls for potential ban by U.S. Senators

TikTok is facing renewed calls for a potential ban in America by U.S. Senators.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing a law that would force ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, to divest the app within the next six months. If not, TikTok risks losing its user base of 150 million people in the United States.

The details. More than a dozen lawmakers have teamed up to propose the new legislation, which is expected to see an initial vote on March 7. If the bill is passed, ByteDance would have 165 days to divest TikTok. If it doesn’t comply with these orders, it would become illegal for app stores run by Apple and Google to offer TikTok. Additionally, it would be illegal to provide web hosting services to apps controlled by ByteDance.

Security concerns. The new legislation is being proposed to address concerns related to national security surrounding TikTok’s ownership. As TikTok is owned by the Chinese multinational ByteDance, it falls under China’s controversial cybersecurity laws. These laws, among other things, contain provisions that could potentially require TikTok to furnish U.S. user data to the Chinese Communist Party upon request.

What the U.S. Government is saying. Mike Gallagher, the Republican chair of the House of Representatives’ select China committee, is among the lawmakers proposing the new legislation. He told Reuters:

  • “This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users.”
  • “America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States.”

Why we care. A U.S. ban on TikTok would significantly impact advertisers, especially those targeting Gen Z. This demographic favors TikTok over platforms like Google, making it a crucial channel for advertisers seeking to reach this audience.

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What TikTok is saying. TikTok has always claimed that it operates independently from its owners and takes measures to protect U.S. user data from unauthorized foreign access. The platform said in a statement on X last year:

  • “[We are committed to protecting] more than 150 million Americans on TikTok. We will keep safety, particularly for teenagers, a top priority.”
  • “We will firewall protected U.S. user data from unauthorized foreign access. TikTok will remain a platform for free expression and will not be manipulated by any government.”
  • “We will be transparent and give access to third-party independent monitors, to remain accountable for our commitments.”

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