TikTok Ban Is Being Fast-Tracked In Congress. What Does That Mean?

0
200

TikTok may face a crossroads sooner than later, with a divest-or-ban bill getting fast-tracked in Congress.

The bill, which would require TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance either to sell the popular social media network or face a ban in the U.S., has been attached to an aid package for Ukraine and Israel, according to a memo issued by House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana.

“We expect the vote on final passage on these bills to be on Saturday evening,” Johnson wrote in the memo to House Republicans.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again pass a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy annually,” a TikTok spokesperson told CBS News.

What is behind the TikTok divest-or-ban bill?

The bill’s creation was sparked by concerns about the troves of personal user data collected by TikTok and ByteDance. Critics claim these data pose a national security threat based on fears the Chinese government could tap the information.

However, others have questioned the constitutionality of targeting a single business and the potential to harm Americans’ free speech rights by taking away a popular social media platform.

What happened with the earlier bill?

The latest iteration of the TikTok bill comes after a prior effort was passed in the House but later became mired in the Senate.

Because this bill is attached to aid packages for Ukraine and Israel, it could find a swifter passage in Congress.

What is different about this TikTok bill?

There are some changes compared with the earlier bill. For one, the latest version gives TikTok’s owner more time to divest, providing 9 months for a sale with the potential for an additional 3 month grace period, according to a copy of the bill released on Wednesday.

The earlier bill would have given ByteDance six months to divest TikTok or face a nationwide ban.