The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that could lead to social media platform TikTok being banned in the United States.

It would give the social media giant’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, six months to sell its controlling stake or the app would be blocked in the US.

2. TikTok

U.S to ban TikTok

The bill passed by a large majority in a bipartisan vote, receiving 352 votes in favour, and only 65 against. But it still needs to clear the Senate and be signed by the president to become law.

Possible buyers of TikTok have already started to emerge. Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is reportedly building an investor group to acquire the platform.

Speaking to CNBC, Mnuchin said: “This should be owned by US businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a US company own something like this in China.”

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House lawmakers have long argued that the app could allow the Chinese government to access user data and influence the 170 million American users of TikTok. The White House has backed the bill, with President Joe Biden saying he would sign it if it passes Congress.

The bill’s opponents have raised free speech concerns. They also say that TikTok has taken steps to safeguard the data of Americans by storing it on US servers.

“Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates Congress’ opposition to Communist China’s attempts to spy on and manipulate Americans, and signals our resolve to deter our enemies,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said after the vote. “I urge the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the President so he can sign it into law.”

In a statement, Tik Tok said: “This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: it’s a ban. We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

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