April 13, 2024
  • US lawmakers have proposed a bill that will force TikTok to cut ties with parent company ByteDance or get banned within 6 months.
  • If ByteDance violates the bill, it will face a fine of up to $5000 per user.
  • The company currently has 170 million users from the US along with 5 million business accounts.

TikTok To Be Banned In The US Unless It Cuts Ties With ByteDance

US lawmakers have presented a bill that would require TikTok to either cut ties with its parent company ByteDance in 6 months or get banned from the country.

The bill that came out on Tuesday is called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act and is yet to be passed.

It has been co-authored by Mike Gallagher (the Republican chairman of the House Select China committee) and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (the panel’s top Democrat). In total, it has been supported by 19 lawmakers.

TikTok could live on and people could do whatever they want on it provided there is that separation.Mike Gallagher

What Does The Bill Say?

By cutting ties, the bill doesn’t propose giving it up for free. ByteDance is more than welcome to sell it within the given time frame.

It’s important to understand that it’s not a personal vendetta against TikTok. This is being done to prevent any app that’s backed by a company from a foreign adversary (like Russia or China) from reaching US users. They can neither host their apps on the app stores nor get a web hosting platform to offer downloads.

Lawmakers have the best interest of US citizens in their hearts with this move.

The lawmakers believe that being connected to any app that’s backed by a company based in China (which does not have the best relationship with the US at the moment) risks the data of millions of users.

If this bill is passed, TikTok will have a lot to lose. Currently, the company has $170 million users in the US. TikTok’s 2023 revenue from the US was expected to reach $7.74 billion– almost 25% more than last year’s revenue.

But all that goes away if this bill is passed, unless they cut ties with ByteDance. And if they violate the rules, the parent company will be charged a fine of $5000 per user.

Even the White House seems to favor this proposal although it’s considering making some amendments to it first.

Previously, Joe Biden had collaborated with lawmakers from both parties to address the growing risk of cyber leaks and find a long-term fix for it. This bill is a welcome step in that direction.

Read More: EU probes into TikTok for child safety monitoring & possible content violation

How Did TikTok Take The Proposal?

TikTok is not at all happy with this move. It has not only criticized the idea but also said that it’s essentially trying to ban the app in disguise — that’s the real objective, no matter how much they try to sugarcoat it.

TikTok also called this move an attack on US citizens’ First Amendment rights which constitute freedom of speech, press, and assembly.

Representatives of the company also talked about the implications of this move on the people of the US. Alex Haurek, who is the spokesman for TikTok, shared a post on X which said that there are 5 million small businesses on the app.

Banning it from the country will mean that all these businesses will have to shut down and millions more will lose their livelihood.

The social media giant isn’t the only one unhappy with this move. China itself has revealed its plans to “block the sale”. A report from Beijing suggests that if ByteDance tries to surrender TikTok to the US, it will face legal consequences.

And within the US, while some have appreciated this move, others have openly criticized it. One such example is the non-profit Freedom of the Press Foundation which said banning TikTok will silence millions, especially the journalists who use the platform to bring out the truth to the people.

Read More: TikTok creates digital divide in shaping public opinion on Israel-Gaza conflict


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