If this new law is fully passed, Joe Biden could ban (or not ban) TikTok for use by any US resident.
The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has voted to give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok in the country.
Lawmakers voted 24 to 16 to approve the measure that gives the government new powers to block the ByteDance-owned app used by more than 100 million Americans, as well as other apps deemed security risks.
The bill doesn’t specify exactly how the ban will work, but it does give Biden the power to block any transaction with TikTok, which in turn could prevent anyone in the US from accessing or downloading the app on their phone.
“TikTok is a threat to national security … It’s time to act,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the committee that sponsored the bill. “Anyone who downloaded TikTok on their device has given the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) a backdoor to all of their personal information. It’s a spy balloon on their phone.”
The fate of this latest measure remains uncertain and faces significant hurdles before it becomes law. The bill would have to pass through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate before it could be put in charge of Joe Biden.
TikTok has come under increasing criticism in recent weeks over concerns that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, potentially undermining Western security interests.
The bill would also require Biden to impose a ban on any entity that “may” transfer sensitive personal data to an entity under Chinese influence.
“The US ban on TikTok is a ban on exporting American culture and values to the 1 billion people who use our service around the world,” a TikTok spokeswoman said after the vote.
The Biden administration did not say whether or not it would prefer the bill to move forward, saying only that it has previously raised concerns about apps such as TikTok.
Democrats opposed the bill, saying it was rushed and requires due diligence through debate and expert consultation.