Mitch McConnell's support of the TikTok bill is a big deal, but that doesn't mean the app is doomed

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  • The head of the GOP Senate caucus cast his support on Monday for the TikTok bill.

  • Despite passing in a bipartisan fashion in the House, there's no guarantee it'll pass the Senate.

  • Several senators have said they think it would get struck down in court.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared his support on Monday for a bill circulating through Congress that would effectively ban TikTok, but the app's immediate demise is no guarantee.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said China uses the app and its user data to spy on the "170 million Americans" who are active TikTok users and pointed to a recent report from Microsoft about how the rivaling country used social media to influence elections.

"All sorts of social media platforms can be fountains of disinformation and propaganda," McConnell said. "Just look at last week's news about the PRC's efforts to manipulate Taiwan's elections with Twitter accounts driven by AI."

But even with the support of McConnell, there might not be 50 senators on either side of the aisle who'd vote for the bill, officially called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.

After passing in the House of Representatives in a bipartisan landslide in mid-March, the bill now sits in the Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, the committee's chair, has supported the idea of regulating TikTok in the past but hasn't completely supported this particular bill, instead preferring the one she drew up in 2023 that she never introduced.

According to Punchbowl News, Cantwell told reporters Monday night that she doesn't think the House's bill would stand in a court of law.

"But you also can't, as a Congress, just decide one day, 'Ah!' And pass a law," she said. "Well, you can, I just don't know if it'll hold up in court… Let's get something that can be upheld."

A handful of Republican and Democratic senators previously said they were concerned about TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, being specifically named in the proposed legislation.

"You don't want to establish a precedent on naming an individual company," Sen. Todd Young said.

Cantwell's reportedly scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and an advocate for the bill, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, this week, which very well may determine TikTok's future in the US.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter detailing his goals post-Easter recess, Schumer didn't guarantee he'll bring the TikTok bill to a vote but did say he hoped "our Senate Republican colleagues don't allow the ultra-right wing of their party to derail progress on these bipartisan bills."

President Joe Biden has already said he'll sign the bill into law if it passes through the Senate. According to a March report from The New York Times, Biden's White House staffers have lobbied senators to try to get them on board.

Read the original article on Business Insider