Science, Technology, and Social Media

Experts Cheer Bill Compelling Chinese Parent Company To Offload TikTok

Bipartisan lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled legislation to force Beijing-based ByteDance to sell TikTok in order for it to continue operating in the United States, a move applauded by technology experts who believe the app’s Chinese ownership is a significant threat.

The “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” would give ByteDance about six months to sell TikTok. The bill would mitigate the national security threat TikTok poses, experts asserted.

“TikTok’s own conduct makes clear that it is beholden to the CCP and presents an unacceptable threat to U.S. national security,” Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr asserted on X. “I applaud this strong bipartisan bill, which would definitely resolve this threat.”

The bill would also give the president authority to force other companies to divest from their parent companies if they are based in countries that are foreign adversaries, according to a press release.

“TikTok’s unchecked growth and infiltration into the fabric of our society will only make it more difficult to extricate ourselves and our children from its grip. We must confront this crisis head-on and immediately prohibit TikTok from operating in the United States,” Heritage Foundation Tech Policy Center Director Kara Frederick stated. “The [bill] is a crucial step forward in this fight and will be a powerful tool in our arsenal to put an end to this noxious, CCP-beholden surveillance platform once and for all.”

TikTok persists in distributing data to ByteDance despite its purported efforts to protect American data, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.

The company tried to assuage concerns from lawmakers and public officials regarding its handling of Americans’ data by spending $1.5 billion on an isolated unit to safeguard American data, but managers within TikTok are telling employees to share data to ByteDance, bypassing authorized channels, according to the WSJ.

“Great to see @HouseCommerce introduce legislation that will keep dangerous apps, like @tiktok_us in its current form, off our devices. It is a positive step to quell the national security concerns raised by these technologies,” Joel Thayer, president of the Digital Progress Institute, posted on X.

TikTok came out against the bill, saying it would effectively ban the app and crush freedom of speech in the process.

“This bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it. This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs,” the company posted on X.

The Biden administration previously called for TikTok to divest itself from ByteDance or face a potential ban in the United States, but the administration reportedly backed off from it in September.

TikTok and ByteDance did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Jason Cohen

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