TikTok ban in US: What House Bill says? Impact on users | Explainer

US lawmakers alleged that ByteDance is owned by the Chinese government and could demand the data of more than 170 million US users whenever it wants. What T

The US House of Representatives passed a bill by 352 votes to 65 to ban the Chinese social media app Tiktok. The bill now heads to the US Senate to be sent to the White House for the president to sign into law.

TikTok ban debate reignited in US

US lawmakers have renewed debate to ban Chinese social media apps, which have millions of American users, given national security concerns related to their Chinese parent company ByteDance.

However, the Chinese company ByteDance, owner of TikTok, has decided to divest its stakes then the app would be allowed to operate in the US

The House bill also mentions that if TikTok wants to continue in the US, then ByteDance will have to give up its popular algorithm, which feeds users with content based on their preferences.

If ByteDance refuses to sell its stake, TikTok will be banned from the US app stores: Google and Apple.

The bill called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, if received the President's accent, would lead to a nationwide ban on the video app.

US lawmakers alleged that ByteDance is owned by the Chinese government and could demand the data of more than 170 million US users whenever it wants.

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What TikTok is saying?

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew posted an online video on Wednesday in which he highlighted that his company has invested in keeping user data secure. He said that the TikTok platform cannot be manipulated by any outside agency.

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you. "We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this incredible platform we have built with you," Chew said in his message to the app's users.

TikTok has long denied that it could be used as a tool for China. The company has repeatedly stated that it has never shared US app user data with Chinese authorities.

The US government has never provided any evidence showing that TikTok shared such information with Chinese authorities.

However, the political climate is growing in favor of the bill, as presidential elections are scheduled for November of this year. US President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the goal is to end Chinese ownership, not ban TikTok.

In 2020, then-US President Donald Trump sought to ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat but was blocked by the courts.

What are TikTok content users saying?

Many small businesses in the United States rely on the platform to sell and market their products on the TikTok Store. They opposed the bill because a ban could impact the lives of those who have spent years growing their following on the platform and relying on it for brand deals or other types of income.

Can users access TikTok after the ban?

Some experts told the AP news agency that users could find a way to bypass the ban. The user can try to use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to hide their location and bypass these restrictions. However, using VPNs also raises additional security issues, especially for users who turn to a free or cheap VPN provider that hasn't been carefully vetted.

India was the first country to ban TikTok in 2020 over national security concerns. The government said at the time that the popular Chinese social media platform was being used to collect personal data and spy on others.

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