Will TikTok be banned?: What to know after House advances aid package

(The Hill) — Last month, the House passed legislation that would force ByteDance, the Chinese-owned parent company of TikTok, to sell the popular app or be banned in the U.S.

The bill was then flipped over to the Senate side, where it has an unclear future.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) made waves when he merged an adjusted measure with the $95 billion foreign aid package which easily passed in the lower chamber on Saturday.

The measure related to TikTok, tied with the foreign aid package, has a different language than the previous one, which cleared the lower chamber in March.

The new measure would extend ByteDance’s timeline to sell TikTok, bumping it up from six months to a year, an adjustment that compelled Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to support the bill in the upper chamber. The House passed foreign aid as a four-point bill, but it is being delivered to the Senate as one measure.

What does the future of TikTok look like now?

Why do lawmakers want to ban TikTok?

TikTok has faced backlash on Capitol Hill over its ties to China. Supporters of the measure have argued banning TikTok would prevent the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from having access to American user data that could be utilized for spying.

TikTok has pushed back by saying it was not asked to provide the data to the CPP.

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TikTok was also scrutinized over its algorithm recommending sensitive videos and critics have accused it of being a national security threat, especially ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

What happens next?

The measure for banning TikTok now heads to the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the lower chamber will take up the foreign aid bill on Tuesday.

President Biden has voiced his support for the overall measure, which includes the possibility of banning the app, and said he would sign a bill that could ultimately ban TikTok if it made it to his desk.

How would the ban work

The legislation would forbid the Google Play Store or App Store from updating or distributing TikTok.

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However, in the past, people have found ways to circumvent similar bans, including by changing location or utilizing VPNs, notes USAToday.

When would the ban go into effect?

The ban would go into effect if ByteDance decides not to divest within the allotted time frame.

The extended period to sell TikTok went up from 180 days to 270 days with the recent legislation. There could also be a 90-day extension added if the permission is granted by Biden.

If the ban takes place, it will likely face legal challenges from supporters and TikTok itself, which could lengthen the timeframe.

TikTok and its users have successfully fought back against the ban on the state level.

What this means for the future of TikTok

Someone else could potentially buy TikTok if its owners decide to sell, if a ban is enacted.

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary are among those who have expressed interest.

Do Americans want TikTok banned?

Almost half of the participants in the March CNBC All-America Economic poll said TikTok should be sold to a non-Chinese firm or be banned.

The poll found 60 percent of Republicans support a ban or a sale, while 40 percent of Democrats said the same.

Younger Americans are less in favor of the ban. The CNBC poll discovered that 48 percent of 18-to 34-year-olds oppose a ban.

Around 50 percent of Americans support a ban, according to a Pew Research Center survey released in March. That is 28 percent higher than those who said they are not in favor of a ban.

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