The House has now passed a bill that could ban TikTok. What happens next?

The legislation that could ban TikTok from US app stores still has more hurdles to pass before it becomes law

Katie Hawkinson
Washington, DC
Thursday 14 March 2024 07:10 GMT
Representative Mike Gallagher discusses proposed TIkTok legislation amid potential US ban

The US House of Representatives has voted to approve a bill that could ban TikTok from US app stores.

The bill – Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applicants Act – overwhelmingly surpassed the 2/3 majority needed when lawmakers cast their votes on Wednesday morning.

Authored by a bipartisan group of representatives, the bill would allow federal law enforcement agencies to label certain apps as national security threats if they are determined to be under the control of foreign adversaries.

If the bill becomes law, TikTok parent company ByteDance will have 180 days to sell 80 per cent of its stake to a US company or face the app being removed from American app stores. The FBI has previously warned that TikTok could spread harmful propaganda due to ByteDance’s alleged ties to the Chinese government.

So now the House has voted in favour of the bill what happens now?

Following a successful House vote, the bill will now go to the US Senate for a vote.

However, given the upper chamber’s Democratic majority, it is unclear whether the bill will survive this next step. However, some Republican Senators have already expressed their support. Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, called for the chamber to take up the bill “immediately.”

If it does indeed pass the Senate, President Joe Biden has already told reporters he is committed to signing the bill into law.

Despite overwhelming support for the bill among the House, it has also faced opposition from both parties.

Representative Jim Himes, a Democrat and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, voted against the bill.

“I have more insight than most into the online threats posed by our adversaries,” Mr Himes said in a statement. “But one of the key differences between us and those adversaries is the fact they shut down newspapers, broadcast stations, and social media platforms. We do not.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican, also voted no.

“As the only member of Congress who has ever been banned from social media, I oppose today’s TikTok ban bill,” she wrote on X. “This bill would open Pandora’s box and create a slippery slope for future government censorship of Americans and our precious First Amendment.”

The bill also faces backlash from former president Donald Trump, who reversed his position on the potential TikTok ban only recently and now claims it will allow Meta platforms — like Facebook and Instagram — to become more successful.

“I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better,” the former president said, referring to his baseless conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

Amid these threats to its app, ByteDance has launched a massive campaign to kill the bill. Last week, some TikTok users got a push notification urging them to call their representatives and speak out against the bill. Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin and co-author of the bill, told NBC News his office was then inundated with calls.

This strategy came as a House committee advanced the bill on a rare unanimous bipartisan vote of 50-0 earlier this month, making its success on Wednesday morning unsurprising.

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