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U.S. House approves legislation to ban TikTok if parent company does not sell social media app

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Last weekend, the U.S. House voted to ban TikTok if parent company ByteDance does not sell it to an approved buyer.

American lawmakers take issue with the fact that ByteDance, a Chinese-owned company, is subject to the will of the Chinese Communist Party. At any time, CCP may request that TikTok turn over sensitive data on Americans who use the social media app.

“I’m also very glad to see progress toward compelling a divestiture of TikTok from its parent company, Byte Dance, which is legally beholden to the Chinese Communist Party. This is a strong step forward to shore up our national security against malign influence, and it couldn’t come at a more important time,” Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner said Saturday in a statement. Warner is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and has expressed concern over the social media app’s use in the United States for some time.

According to NBC News, experts anticipate approval from the U.S. Senate and signature into American law by President Joe Biden, but an actual ban on TikTok would be years away. ByteDance is expected to delay the ban by challenging it in a court of law.

Several have expressed interest in buying TikTok from ByteDance but the company is expected not to sell because the social media app is considered a national security asset for China.

Approximately 60 percent of TikTok users, according to a financial services group Wedbush survey, said they would move their content to Instagram or Facebook if TikTok is banned in the U.S. or sold. Nineteen percent said they would just use YouTube.

Bernstein analysts forecast that Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, would take as much as 60 percent of TikTok’s American ad revenue while YouTube would gain 25 percent.

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Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.