US Senators Voice Support For TikTok Bill

Some US senators have voiced support for a bill that could ban TikTok in the US or force the sale of its US operations, following the bill’s passage through the House of Representatives last week.

The bill faces a slower process in the Senate as key senators have signalled that they see banning the popular app, which has 170 million users in the US, as incompatible with the Constitution.

But Senator Mike Rounds expressed support for the bill’s aim of forcing a sale within roughly six months or bringing in a ban.

Je told CNN’s State of the Union the best solution would be for parent company ByteDance “to allow for American ownership” of TikTok.

Image credit: Unsplash

‘Eliminate it’

“If not, then we’re probably going to have to eliminate it from the platforms,” he said, referring to app stores.

Senator Bill Cassidy said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he would “like to see the final language, but I’m certainly predisposed to vote for it”.

US president Joe Biden has said he would sign the bill, but National Security Council spokesman John KIrby said on Sunday that “we don’t want to see it banned”.

“We do want to see ByteDance no longer in control of that application,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

‘In shareholders’ interests’

In a statement on X last week TikTok described the bill as “an outright ban… no matter how much the authors try to disguise it”.

Congressman Mike Gallagher, who led the bill’s passage through the House, told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that a forced sale would be in the interests of ByteDance’s shareholders as it would eliminate a source of uncertainty.

“It would be in the financial interest of ByteDance’s investors to effectuate a forced sale,” he said.

Voicing concern that the app is exerting Chinese government influence on the American public, he added: “I think the user experience on the app would improve and you wouldn’t have this concern over being propagandised, the opaque algorithm influencing the information you see.

China opposition

“That would go away, so I imagine it would actually increase in value.”

The Chinese government has indicated it would not allow a forced sale to go through, meaning if passed the bill would be likely to result in TikTok’s disappearance from the US.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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