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U.S. Government Moves To Ban Social Media App TikTok

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would give TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance six months to divest its U.S. assets or face a ban in America.

The proposed bill passed in the lower chamber of Congress by a vote of 352-65. However, it must still pass a vote in the U.S. Senate where its path is less clear.

The move to potentially ban the short form video app is the latest effort to respond to U.S. national security concerns about China.

TikTok is currently used by 170 million Americans, including children and teenagers. There are growing concerns about the impact of the social media platform on kids, as well as worries that China is using the social media app to collect data on Americans.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that he is prepared to sign the legislation into law if the bill before Congress is passed in the Senate and reaches his desk.

The Chinese government has criticized the legislation, stating “the U.S. has never found any evidence of TikTok posing a threat to the U.S.'s national security…”

It’s not clear if China’s government, which holds a big stake in TikTok creator ByteDance, would approve a sale, or if TikTok's U.S. assets could be divested within six months.

Should the proposed legislation become law in America, app stores operated by Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL) could be prevented from offering TikTok, and web hosting services could be prevented from enabling the TikTok video streaming feed.

ByteDance is a privately held company. Its stock does not trade on a public exchange.