House Votes 352-65 on TikTok Ban

( – TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps in the country. The app has led to the discovery of multiple musical artists and helped entrepreneurs start new businesses. Some TikTok influencers are making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While the app has led to many positive outcomes, there’s an inescapable problem: China. The House of Representatives voted to ban the app after a briefing from intelligence officials.

House Briefing and Vote

On March 12, intelligence officials from the Department of Justice, FBI, and the director of National Intelligence met with House lawmakers. An unnamed Republican aid told The Hill about the briefing, but no other information was made public about what happened.

The day after the briefing, the House voted on the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), would ban the use of the app in the US if the company does not sell it. The app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that lawmakers contend is under the control of the Chinese Communist government.

Lawmakers passed the bill by 352-65. Fifteen Republicans and 50 Democrats voted against the legislation.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) is one of the lawmakers who did not vote to pass the bill. According to The Associated Press, he said, “The answer to authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism.” He went on to say, “The answer to CCP-style propaganda is NOT CCP-style oppression.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) also opposed the bill. He said the US would never allow another country to force it to sell one of its companies just because it sells American goods.

Other Republicans argued that the government should warn Americans that their data privacy is in danger if they use the app but that the choice should be left to them.

Although there’s supposedly no evidence that the app has shared American users’ data with the Chinese government, there’s a concern it could happen because of the country’s security laws. China requires companies to help with intelligence gathering and can compel them to turn over their data.

Future of the Bill

The legislation is now in the hands of senators. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will decide whether to bring it to the floor for a vote. Experts predict the leader is going to feel pressure from his own caucus to do so.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, has promised the legislation will pass if it’s brought to the floor. President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill into law.

One thing lawmakers did not discuss is the possible election-year ramifications. More than 150 million Americans use the app. The 2024 election is going to be incredibly close, and this could impact voter turnout. Republican social media consultant Alex Bruesewitz told POLITICO, he thinks “it is foolish to go after TikTok in an election year.”

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