US faces prospect of TikTok ban as House of Representatives passes bill | Pocket

TikTok is edging further toward a US ban after the House of Representatives voted for a new bill requiring platform owner ByteDance to sell the app.

The House voted 360 to 58 in favour of the divest-or-ban legistation. It forms part of a US foreign policy package that also includes $61 million in military aid for Ukraine’s war efforts against Russia, as well as funds for Taiwan and Israel.

The Senate is due to vote on the bill, which includes all the measures together, with the bill expected to pass in the next few days. If it does, President Joe Biden has said he will sign it into law.

“Spy balloon in Americans’ phones”

US politicians have previously shared fears that personal data of US citizens collected by the app could be shared with Chinese government agencies. Critics of the bill, including TikTok itself, have said a ban would limit freedom of speech.

“This bill protects Americans and especially America’s children from the malign influence of Chinese propaganda on the app TikTok,” said Texas Republican representative and author of the bill Michael McCaul, as reported by Bloomberg.

“This app is a spy balloon in Americans’ phones.”

The Financial Times reports the new bill gives ByteDance 270 days to divest the app or face a ban. The timeframe could also be extended by a further three months.

TikTok has 150 million users in the US alone and has become a key channel for user acquisition and marketing campaigns for apps and games. A ban would deny access to large audiences through TikTok, sending marketing spend to other platforms and networks.

China bans social apps

While TikTok is in the firing line in the US, China has ordered bans on popular messaging and social apps, including those from US firms. The Wall Street Journal reports Apple has been ordered to remove apps from t he App Store, including WhatsApp, Thread, Signal and Telegram.

Apple claimed it was ordered to remove apps on national security grounds, but it did not elaborate.

“We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” said an Apple spokesperson. recently delved into a potential US TikTok ban and what it means for the games industry on the podcast, which you can listen to on Spotify right here.

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