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One step away from banning TikTok in the US: committee backs bill, Biden will sign it

One step away from banning TikTok in the US: committee backs bill, Biden will sign it
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The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the US Congress unanimously (50 votes to 0) supported a bill under which the Chinese company ByteDance must either get rid of the TikTok app or face a ban in the US. The House of Representatives is expected to consider the "American Apps Protection from Foreign Adversaries Act" next week.

TikTok has around 170 million users in the US. In 2020, President Donald Trump unsuccessfully tried to ban the app. Before the committee vote, lawmakers received a closed secret briefing on TikTok's national security implications with its owner in China.

ByteDance seems unwilling to sell TikTok:

"This law has a pre-determined outcome: a complete ban on TikTok in the United States. The government is trying to deprive 170 million Americans of their constitutional right to free expression. This will harm millions of companies, deprive artists of access to audiences, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country," the company said after the vote.

Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House Committee on China, believes that it would be expedient to sell TikTok.

"TikTok could continue to exist and people could do anything they want on it, provided that it is separated. This is not a ban - think of it as an operation aimed at removing a tumor and saving the patient."

US President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill if supported by Congress.

"As soon as ... he can get out of Congress, then the president will sign it. But we need to continue working on this," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Congress members from both parties have spoken out in the American press regarding the bill and are inclined to support it, with Donald Trump also expressing support for it: "If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and 'Zuckerschmuck' will double their business." He also called the Chinese service a "real enemy of the people."

Sources: Reuters, CBS

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