US House approves TikTok divestment bill amid national security concerns

The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday aimed at forcing the Chinese-owned video app TikTok to divest its U.S. holdings or face a nationwide ban, citing concerns about national security. The legislation, approved by a vote of 352-65, now heads to the Senate for consideration, though its future there remains uncertain.

With over 150 million American users, TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., raising fears among lawmakers that it could be compelled to share user data with the Chinese government. The bill seeks to sever ties between TikTok and ByteDance to safeguard U.S. national security interests.

The House vote reflects growing tensions between the U.S. and China, with lawmakers targeting TikTok as a potential threat. Despite concerns, TikTok maintains it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities.

While some Republican leaders support the bill, others caution against overreach, advocating for consumer choice and free speech. Democrats also express concerns about potential impacts on U.S. users and civil liberties.

President Joe Biden has signaled his intention to sign the bill if passed by Congress, underscoring bipartisan interest in addressing national security risks posed by foreign-owned tech companies.

TikTok influencers and supporters have mobilized against the bill, highlighting its potential impact on their livelihoods. However, former President Donald Trump has endorsed efforts to force TikTok’s divestment.

As the bill progresses through Congress, it faces scrutiny over its constitutionality and potential consequences for U.S.-China relations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other key figures will play pivotal roles in determining its fate.