TikTok on the Brink

(RightIsRight.co) – The Senate recently passed a bill that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform or face a potential ban, a contentious move by lawmakers that is anticipated to face legal battles and disrupt the lives of content creators reliant on the app for income.

The TikTok legislation was part of a broader $95 billion package providing foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel, which cleared the Senate with a 79-18 vote while Joe Biden intends to sign it promptly.

House Republicans attached the TikTok bill to the package, rushing its passage after negotiations with the Senate.

The bill initially set a six-month deadline for ByteDance to divest its TikTok stakes, but concerns arose about the timeframe’s adequacy for such a significant transaction.

The revised legislation extends the deadline to nine months, with a potential three-month extension if a sale is in progress. Additionally, it prohibits ByteDance from controlling TikTok’s algorithm, a pivotal feature shaping user experience.

Furthermore, the passage of this legislation reflects bipartisan apprehensions in Washington regarding Chinese communist threats and TikTok’s ownership.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell clarified that the legislation aims to safeguard against foreign adversaries’ espionage and malicious activities rather than targeting specific companies.

Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat who voted for the legislation, said he has concerns about TikTok.

He was also worried the bill could have negative effects on free speech, could not do enough to protect consumer privacy, and could potentially be abused by a future administration to violate First Amendment rights.

Critics argued that alternative means exist for China to access American data, such as through commercial data brokers. They raised concerns about potential violations of free speech and privacy and urged a comprehensive federal data privacy law.

While the bill awaits Biden’s signature, TikTok plans to challenge it in court, as the company has previously succeeded in legal disputes, including blocking state-level bans and challenging executive orders.

ByteDance’s top attorney, Erich Andersen, announced his resignation amid negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which investigates corporate deals for national security concerns.

In contrast, TikTok content creators voiced their opposition to the bill and emphasized the platform’s importance to them.

They gathered at the Capitol to advocate against the legislation and highlighted their reliance on TikTok and its safety measures, including Project Texas.

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