Updated March 11th, 2024 at 12:26 IST

In US, Lawmakers Can't Decide if They Should Ban TikTok or Not

The House bill in question proposes that TikTok's parent company ByteDance must divest its ownership of the app within 165 days or risk seeing TikTok banned.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
TikTok | Image:Unsplash
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Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are expressing uncertainty regarding their stance on a new bill aimed at addressing security concerns surrounding the popular social media app TikTok in the United States.

The proposed legislation has ignited fresh debates over national security and privacy implications associated with TikTok, which has long been a contentious issue under both the Biden and Trump administrations due to its Chinese ownership.

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Here is what you need to know

The House bill in question proposes that TikTok's parent company ByteDance must divest its ownership of the app within 165 days or risk seeing TikTok banned from app stores.

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Congressional offices have been inundated with calls from concerned constituents following TikTok's warning of a potential "total ban," prompting lawmakers to carefully weigh their positions.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are uncertain 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina expressed conflicting sentiments regarding the bill during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," highlighting the dilemma lawmakers face in balancing national security with user access. "Banning TikTok, maybe that's necessary to protect American data from China. But if you can find a way to avoid that, that'd be good, too," Graham remarked.

Similarly, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California emphasized the need for a thorough review of the legislation to address legitimate privacy and security concerns without resorting to a blanket ban. "There are real privacy concerns. There are real security concerns. The question is: is there a way to meet those without banning a whole platform that millions of people like using?" Schiff queried during the same program.

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Senator Rubio has said the bill's finer details deserve scrutiny 

The bill's finer details also warrant scrutiny, according to Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who emphasized the potential national security risks associated with ByteDance's control over TikTok's algorithm. Rubio noted that as long as ByteDance engineers retain control over the platform, there are lingering concerns about access to American data.

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The Biden administration's recent decision to join TikTok has further complicated the issue, drawing mixed reactions from lawmakers. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia criticized the move as sending a "mixed message," particularly after Rubio previously urged President Biden to delete his TikTok account.

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Published March 11th, 2024 at 12:26 IST