TikTok

‘Corrupt the minds of young Americans’: TikTok ban now ‘inevitable’ after House overwhelmingly passes bill forcing sale

Author: Editors Desk, Jon Levine and Josh Christenson – NY Post Source: News Corp Australia Network:
April 20, 2024 at 17:55


The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that will ban TikTok in the United States unless its Chinese owner divests from the company — making final passage into law “inevitable,” insiders say.

The ban was tied to the vote on a US$95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and has gotten comparatively little attention.

The TikTok bill passed by a vote of 360 to 58. The full aid bill has yet to be voted on, but is expected to pass

Roughly 150 million Americans are on TikTok and there have been growing fears among politicians about what influence its Chinese Communist owners have on the company.

In recent months TikTok has made headlines for promoting Osama bin Laden and urging young users to choke each other.

 

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaks to the press after the House passed a major aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and also voted to ban TikTok at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2024. Picture: Drew Angerer / AFP
US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaks to the press after the House passed a major aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and also voted to ban TikTok at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2024. Picture: Drew Angerer / AFP

 

After Hamas’ terrorist massacre in Israel, the company has faced accusations of promoting Hamas propaganda and turning younger Americans toward Islamic terrorism.

“The forced sale of TikTok represents a bipartisan breakthrough against the CCP’s most powerful tool of information warfare against the United States,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) told The Post. “No longer will Congress stand by idly while the CCP freely weaponises TikTok to corrupt the minds of young Americans, radicalise Americans against their own country, and amplify antisemitism on a scale and at a pace not seen in human history.”

Following the bill’s passage on Saturday, Tennessee teacher Amber Thomas posted a sob story about the detrimental effects the TikTok ban will have on her students.

“I am a teacher I use TikTok live to fund food and supplies for my students,” the captions in a video read, tagging the Biden campaign account.

“No other social media app can do this,” it read.

 

The US House of Representatives on April 20, 2024, passed a bill that would force TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company ByteDance or face a nationwide ban in the United States, where it has around 170 million users. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP)
The US House of Representatives on April 20, 2024, passed a bill that would force TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company ByteDance or face a nationwide ban in the United States, where it has around 170 million users. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP)

 

“My students have access to fresh food weekly because of our wonderful Tiktok community.”

Wall Street has been buzzing about who might purchase TikTok in the event of a forced divestment from its Chinese owner ByteDance. Microsoft, Meta, Apple and Oracle have all been floated as possible suitors. Rumble, a scrappy free speech-oriented competitor to YouTube has also been talked about as a possible buyer.

One obstacle is the sheer scale of the purchase. The social media company has been valued in the past as worth up to US$50 billion.

In March the House passed a similar TikTok bill, which moved through the chamber in a broad bipartisan majority. That effort, however, has been stalled in the Democratic Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has so far refused to bring the measure of up for a vote. The Senate leader said he would get to the matter eventually.

Schumer has in the past vigorously supported efforts to curtail the influence of TikTok.

“A US company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe,” he wrote in an X post from 2020. “This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government. A safe way must be found for TikTok to continue.”

With the TikTok ban now buried in the foreign aide package — widely considered urgent, must-pass legislation — the Senate will likely have no choice but to take up the measure. Senate leaders have promised to move the measure swiftly and get it to President Biden for his signature.

 

Critics say TikTok is a dangerous propaganda tool of the Chinese government. Picture: Michael M. Santiago
Critics say TikTok is a dangerous propaganda tool of the Chinese government. Picture: Michael M. Santiago

 

“The Ban was inevitable. It was just how we would get there that was up for debate,” said one Senate insider. “TikTok did a horrible job fighting for its corporate life.”

The new TikTok ban will allow the company nine months (extendible to a year by the president) to divest or face a nationwide ban — meaning its full consequences won’t come into force until after the 2024 presidential election.

The House’s previous TikTok legislation would have only allowed a six month window. Democrats in particular rely on TikTok to mobilise younger voters to the polls.

Other TikTokers also reacted with dismay at the news.

One user, Hundo Grand, railed in a livestream against politicians voting to ban TikTok.

The social media follower, who has over 1.2 million followers, griped that legislators banned the app because “the United States doesn’t have its grubby little paws on it.”

“It’s crazy that it’s only TikTok [getting banned]. If you’re going to ban TikTok, get Facebook out of here too … Facebook has done more harm than TikTok,” he griped.

This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission

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