April 25, 2024

The US House of Representatives wants to force Bytedance to sell TikTok

As of: March 13, 2024 at 5:13 p.m

The US House of Representatives tightens its course towards the Chinese company Bytedance: The House of Congress passed a law aimed at forcing a change in ownership of its short video application TikTok. But the US Senate has the final say.

The US House of Representatives wants to force the Chinese owner of TikTok to sell the popular video platform under law. Now a similar proposal has cleared the first hurdle in the House of Representatives. This was approved by a large majority of 352 yes votes.

Now the bill goes to the US Senate, where positions remain unclear. Some influential senators have spoken out against the bill. US President Joe Biden has already made clear that he will sign the law.

Bytedance has 180 days to sell

The law could lead to TikTok being banned from US app stores if Chinese parent company Bytedance does not sell its short-video app within 180 days. Bytedance is seen across all parties in the US as a Chinese company that should bend to the will of the Chinese Communist Party. The company is suspected of granting the government in Beijing access to user data.

TikTok claims to have 170 million users in the USA. The company denies any ties with the Chinese government. The company also confirmed that it has restructured itself so that user data remains in the United States of America. TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew traveled to Washington before the vote and tried to block passage of the draft at the last minute.

See also  France was defeated by England and Germany in the first half of the year

Beijing talks about bullying

According to a media report, Bytedance is intent on exhausting all legal remedies against the impending ban in the US before considering a sale. Breaking away from TikTok is seen as a last option, Bloomberg Financial Service wrote on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

In the run-up to the vote, Beijing criticized the proposed legislation as “bullying behavior” and warned vaguely that the approach would “inevitably cause problems for the United States.”

The US Constitution could prevent the ban

Skeptics point out that the law is likely to keep the courts busy for years because it may compromise the freedom of expression enshrined in the US Constitution. Although US federal authorities have now banned TikTok from the company's mobile phones over data protection concerns, previous initiatives to ban the app nationwide have come to nothing.

During his US presidency, Donald Trump attempted to force the sale of TikTok's US business to US investors with threats of bans. But the plan failed primarily because US courts suspected that plans to ban TikTok violated freedom of expression enshrined in the US Constitution. An existing law in Montana that was supposed to ban TikTok from app stores there is also on hold.

A 180 degree turn from Trump

Despite the controversy over the TikTok ban, US President Biden did not appear for the first time on the platform, which is particularly popular among young people, until four weeks ago. Meanwhile, his predecessor Trump, who is competing against Biden in the 2024 presidential election, has done a 180-degree turn in his stance toward Messenger.

See also  Buy PS5 on Amazon: Drop With 20,000 Consoles Starting Tomorrow - Notice appeared

On Monday, he spoke out on CNBC against banning TikTok, arguing that it would only strengthen US internet giant Meta and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, the right-wing populist denied that he only changed his position on TikTok because ByteDance investor Jeff Yas supported his election campaign with donations.

Nina Barth, ARD Washington, Tagesschau, March 13, 2024, 5:26 pm