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Potential TikTok Ban Clears Congressional Hurdle As Some Republicans Voice Opposition

  A controversial bill that could completely ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from being downloaded in the U.S. is headed to th...

 A controversial bill that could completely ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from being downloaded in the U.S. is headed to the House floor after a Congressional committee voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the legislation.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a bipartisan vote of 50-0, Fox Business reported. The measure, titled the ‘‘Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” would require ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, to divest the social media app or face an outright ban in the U.S. It would also create a process for the executive branch of the federal government to ban apps in the future that are deemed a “national security” risk.

“This is my message to TikTok: break up with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users,” said Gallagher, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. “America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States. TikTok’s time in the United States is over unless it ends its relationship with CCP-controlled ByteDance.”

The act considers ‘‘controlled by a foreign adversary” to mean:

(A) a foreign person that is domiciled in, is headquartered in, has its principal place of business in, or is organized under the laws of a foreign adversary country; (B) an entity with respect to which a foreign person or combination of foreign persons described in subparagraph (A) directly or indirectly own at least a 20 percent stake; or (C) a person subject to the direction or control of a foreign person or entity described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

While the bill is supported by numerous GOP congressmen, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), some Republican lawmakers and former President Donald Trump have voiced their opposition to a total ban on TikTok.

“If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Thursday. “I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better. They are a true Enemy of the People!”

Trump’s comments on a potential TikTok ban mark a shift in the former president’s stance on the issue. While still in the White House in 2020, Trump suggested banning TikTok in the U.S. and issued an executive order calling on ByteDance to divest from its popular social media app, The Hill reported. The order was later blocked by federal judges.


Trump wasn’t alone in his criticism of the legislation.

“If Congress bans TikTok, they will be acting just like the Chinese communists who have also banned TikTok,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said. “Why not just defend the first amendment?”

X owner Elon Musk also chimed in on the proposed TikTok ban, agreeing with Trump.

TikTok responded to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s passage of the bill, saying in a statement on Thursday, “This bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it. This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.”

The social media app also encouraged users to contact their congressman and voice their opposition to the legislation. Gallagher said that lawmakers’ offices have been flooded with calls regarding the measure and accused TikTok of “intimidating members considering that bill.”

The White House has signaled its support for the potential TikTok ban even as President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign uses the app to boost his message to potential voters.

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