The House Committee on Energy and Trade unanimously supported a bill according to which the Chinese company ByteDance must sell its social network within six months – otherwise, this popular platform with 170 million users in the United States alone will simply be banned, and web hosting companies and app stores, such as Apple and Google, will have to stop supporting both this application and any other products of the Chinese company. If this law is supported by the entire House of Representatives, bad times will come for ByteDance. The company has already responded to the vote.

This bill is an outright ban on TikTok, regardless of how the authors try to disguise it. This legislation would trample on the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of the platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.

The authors of the document, called the “Protecting Americans from Applications Controlled by Foreign Adversaries” Act, Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoort, have a radically different opinion, arguing that the TikTok platform is actually controlled by a foreign adversary and poses a threat to US national security, and freedom of speech and China is an oxymoron that Beijing uses when it benefits from it.

Last year, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chu testified in Congress about the ties of the social network and its parent company ByteDance with the Chinese government, assuring that the PRC does not have access to the program and does not control it. It seems that his assurances were not very believed, and for good reason – there is too much evidence to the contrary. Assistant Secretary of Defense and his Chief Cyber Security Advisor John F. Plumb rightly pointed out that TikTok is a “vector of potential threat to the United States” and contributes to the spread of misinformation and collects user data even when they are not aware of it.

In the run-up to the vote, TikTok sent notifications to U.S. users urging them to influence lawmakers and ask them not to support the law, but that didn’t help either. In many countries, the installation and use of the TikTok app on the smartphones of civil servants is prohibited, and further restrictions are being seriously considered, in particular, in the UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

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