Sun, 19 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

TikTok warns US ban would 'trample free speech'

Update : 22 Apr 2024, 08:57

TikTok says a potential ban on its app in the US would "trample the free speech" of 170 million Americans.

The US House of Representatives voted on Saturday to ban TikTok if the app's owner does not cut its ties with China.

The legislation was part of a US foreign policy package that included aid for Ukraine and could become law as early as next week.

In recent months US officials have voiced alarm over TikTok's popularity with young people.

They allege TikTok's owner Bytedance is subservient to Beijing - accusations it has repeatedly denied. The TikTok legislation was included in a package, approved by lawmakers, that would send $61bn (£49bn) in foreign aid to Ukraine, as well as money for Israel and Taiwan.

The House of Representatives voted on TikTok's future first - with 360 to 58 voting on the updated divest-or-ban bill.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week and previously US President Joe Biden has said he will sign the legislation.

If the bill becomes law, Bytedance will have nine months to sell its stake - with a possible three-month extension while a sale is in progress - or face a ban. 

A spokesman for TikTok denounced the bill, saying it "would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate seven million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24bn (£19.4bn) to the US economy annually".

TikTok has said ByteDance "is not an agent of China or any other country". And ByteDance insists it is not a Chinese firm, pointing to the many global investment firms that own 60% of it.

The US House of Representatives voted in March to give ByteDance six months to sell TikTok to non-Chinese owners, or have the app blocked in the US - but that bill is still pending Senate approval. 

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