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U.S. Nears TikTok Ban with New Legislation, Senate Vote Imminent

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The U.S. legislative gears are turning swiftly as the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” aimed at potentially banning TikTok, moves closer to becoming law. This bill, which breezed through the House of Representatives last month, is now gaining traction in the Senate amidst strategic revisions and broadening support.

Initially facing skepticism, the bill’s prospects brightened with a pivotal amendment extending the divestiture timeline for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, from six to 12 months. This modification has been instrumental in rallying support from previously uncertain Senate members, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.

This weekend, the House is set to vote on a legislative package that includes this revised TikTok bill, coupled with critical aid measures for Ukraine and Israel. Passage in the House seems likely, setting the stage for a Senate vote as early as next week, as reported by NBC News. Should the Senate green-light the bill, President Joe Biden has indicated his readiness to sign it into law.

The implications of this legislation are profound. If enacted, TikTok, along with any other app deemed a national security threat and “controlled by a foreign adversary,” could be banned from U.S. app stores unless sold to a new owner. The ripple effects of such a law would be significant, impacting 170 million American users and potentially affecting 7 million businesses that leverage the platform, which contributes an estimated $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

TikTok’s leadership has voiced strong opposition in response to these legislative moves, hinting at possible legal challenges. The company criticized the legislative strategy, arguing that it undermines free speech rights and economic contributions in the guise of national security.

As the situation unfolds, the debate over digital sovereignty and the balancing act between national security and economic interests continues to intensify, promising significant repercussions for the tech industry and U.S.-China relations.

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