Biden expresses support for bill that could lead to TikTok ban

President Biden announced on Friday his intention to sign legislation that could potentially result in a ban of TikTok, a widely-used video-sharing app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

“I’ll sign it if they pass it,” stated Mr. Biden, who recently joined the app for his 2024 campaign, when asked about the proposed legislation by reporters.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, also known as the bill, would necessitate ByteDance to sell TikTok within six months. Failure to comply would result in a ban from U.S. app stores and web-hosting services if they do not sever all ties.

According to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, the measure is set to receive a vote on the House floor next week. Scalise emphasized the importance of this bill, referring to it as a “critical national security bill.”

House lawmakers wasted no time in pushing forward with the legislation. They introduced it on Tuesday, and just two days later, it advanced out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In a memo obtained by CBS News, the Justice Department has warned members of Congress about the potential dangers posed by TikTok. The memo highlights the significant amount of sensitive data collected by the app and raises concerns about the possibility of the Chinese government conducting an influence campaign.

According to the Justice Department, the legislation would have stronger legal standing if it granted the government the power to compel ByteDance to divest from TikTok instead of implementing a complete ban on the app if ByteDance fails to sell.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre raised doubts about the legislation’s legal viability earlier this week.

During Wednesday’s press briefing, she mentioned that once the legislation reaches a point where it is considered legally sound and capable of being passed by Congress, the president would be ready to sign it. However, she emphasized the need for ongoing efforts to further refine and improve the proposed legislation.

For years, national security officials and lawmakers have issued warnings about the potential risks associated with the app. They express concerns that the Chinese government could exploit it to spy on Americans or disseminate misinformation and propaganda.

TikTok sparked a surge of phone calls to lawmakers on Thursday after it encouraged users to reach out to their representatives and voice their opposition to the bill. In an alert sent to users within the app, TikTok urged them to take action and help prevent a potential shutdown of the platform.

In a recent notice, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on a potential TikTok ban. The notice emphasized the potential consequences, stating that such a ban would not only affect content creators’ ability to express themselves but also impact their income.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year, TikTok has experienced rapid user growth, surpassing other social media platforms. The study revealed that approximately one-third of U.S. adults utilize the app, although platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram remain more prevalent.

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