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TikTok raises free speech concerns over a bill passed by the US House of Representatives that could ban the app | WIBQ The talk station

Vaseline 2 months ago

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – TikTok raised free speech concerns on Sunday over a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would ban the popular social media app in the U.S. if Chinese owner ByteDance does not sell its stake within a year.

The House passed the legislation on Saturday by a 360-58 margin. It now moves to the Senate, where it could be voted on in the coming days. President Joe Biden has previously said he will sign the legislation.

The move to include TikTok in a broader foreign aid package could accelerate the timeline for a potential ban after an earlier separate bill stalled in the U.S. Senate.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian aid to push through yet another ban bill that would trample the freedom of expression of 170 million Americans,” TikTok said in a statement.

Many U.S. lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties and the Biden administration say TikTok poses national security risks because China could force the company to share the data of its 170 million U.S. users. TikTok insists it has never shared U.S. data and never would.

Democratic US Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that TikTok could be used as a propaganda tool by the Chinese government.

“Many young people on TikTok get their news (from the app), the idea that we would give the (Chinese) Communist Party such a great propaganda tool, as well as the opportunity to collect the personal data of 170 million Americans. risk to national security,” he told CBS News.

Some progressive Democrats have also raised free speech concerns about a ban and have instead called for stricter data privacy rules.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna said Sunday he felt a TikTok ban might not survive legal scrutiny in the courts, citing the U.S. Constitution’s protections for free speech.

“I don’t think it’s going to pass First Amendment scrutiny,” he said in an interview with ABC News.

The House voted on March 13 to give ByteDance about six months to divest the short-video app’s U.S. assets or face a ban. The legislation passed Saturday provides a nine-month deadline, which could be further extended by three months if the president were to determine progress toward a sale.

TikTok was also the subject of a conversation between Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier this month. The White House said Biden raised U.S. concerns about the app’s ownership.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)