U.S. House of Representatives votes on TikTok

La Cámara de Representantes de EE. UU. vota sobre TikTok

The U.S. House of Representatives made a crucial decision on Wednesday, March 13 of this year by passing a bill. It was a vote on TikTok that would force its owner, ByteDance, to sell the popular social networking platform or face a total ban in the country.

After vote on TikTok, the company has 165-day deadline

Notably, the vote was significant, with 352 members of Congress in favor and only 65 opposed. This bill, which was fast-tracked for a vote after receiving unanimous approval in committee the previous week, sets a 165-day deadline for China-based ByteDance to divest from TikTok. Failure to do so would result in major app stores, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play, being legally prohibited from hosting TikTok or providing web hosting services to apps controlled by ByteDance.

Shortly after the vote, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew expressed his disappointment and assured that the company will do everything possible to protect the platform, including using available legal remedies.

Chew highlighted the investments made by TikTok to ensure data security and keep the platform free from outside influence. He warned of potential economic and labor repercussions, suggesting that the law would favor other social networking companies at the expense of creators and small businesses, putting hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs at risk.

Moreover, this House vote represents the latest concrete threat to TikTok amid an ongoing political battle driven by concerns about the security of user data and potential political censorship. Despite TikTok’s claims of not sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government, the company has faced ban attempts in the past, including one pushed by Donald Trump in 2020 and another at the state level in Montana in 2023, both blocked for First Amendment violations.

Impact on the economy and content creators?

Prior to the vote, China denounced the U.S. actions as “hegemonic” practices, while TikTok argued that the legislation would undermine freedom of expression and have a devastating impact on the economy and the livelihoods of creators.

The future of this bill now lies in the Senate, where some Democrats have expressed concerns about free speech and have proposed alternative approaches to address concerns about foreign influence on social networks.

The White House supports the legislation, stressing its importance in ensuring national security and protecting U.S. citizens’ data. The authors of the bill argue that it does not seek an outright ban, but rather gives ByteDance the opportunity to sell TikTok and avoid more drastic measures.

The end result of this legislative action will have a significant impact on the future of TikTok and possibly other Chinese-owned social networking platforms, such as Tencent’s WeChat. The controversy surrounding TikTok reflects broader tensions between the United States and China in the technology and trade arenas.

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