Written by Ashton Snyder on
 April 21, 2024

House Votes for Forced TikTok Sale, Threatens Complete Ban in Security Move

The House of Representatives has passed significant legislation that could signal the end for TikTok in the United States, incorporating a measure into a major foreign aid bill that might culminate in a full ban of the platform.

This legislation, a comprehensive foreign aid package valued at $95 billion, received broad bipartisan approval and includes a clause necessitating the divestment of TikTok, framing it as a necessary step for national security, as the Daily Mail reports.

Lawmakers Allege TikTok Is a Tool for Chinese Surveillance

The concern revolves around allegations by the House China Select Committee. They claim ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, might be using the app to gather intelligence on American citizens and manipulate public opinion through algorithm tweaks.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul likened TikTok to a "spy balloon" in every American's phone, highlighting risks to personal data security.

President Joe Biden has underscored the bill's significance for both national security and America's global leadership.

Extensive Aid Measures Accompany TikTok Legislation

The broader foreign aid bill includes substantial allocations: $26 billion for Israel, $60.8 billion for Ukraine, and $8 billion aimed at the Indo-Pacific region, focusing on both military and humanitarian assistance.

Additionally, the bill supports Ukraine with $23 billion for replenishing U.S. stockpiles, $11 billion for military operations, and $14 billion for advanced weapons systems. An amendment to strip humanitarian aid from one of the aid bills, proposed by Rep. Victoria Spartz, was not successful.

Controversial Response from TikTok and Lawmakers

A spokesperson for TikTok criticized the legislative action, arguing it infringes on the free speech rights of 170 million Americans and would harm millions of U.S. businesses economically.

Conversely, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. stressed the warnings from national security experts about the dangers posed by foreign adversaries through platforms like TikTok.

Rep. Jim Himes commended Speaker Mike Johnson for his integrity and leadership amidst political differences, signaling a rare bipartisan unity on the issue. President Biden hailed the bipartisan nature of the vote, emphasizing its role in promoting American leadership globally.

McCaul captured the gravity of the moment in his statement, declaring, "The world is watching. Our adversaries are watching. And history will judge us by our actions here today."

This comprehensive legislation also features a novel provision to use seized Russian assets to aid Ukraine and implements a lend-lease program, ensuring that non-destroyed U.S. military assets are returned by Ukraine.

The battle over TikTok's future underscores a broader concern about data privacy and national security in a digital age dominated by global platforms. The Senate will soon cast its vote, potentially sealing the fate of TikTok in the United States.

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About Ashton Snyder

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