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TikTok in Trouble

APP UNDER FIRE The future of the popular video-sharing app TikTok is uncertain. GRACE CARY—GETTY IMAGES

On March 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could force ByteDance, which owns TikTok, to sell the video-sharing app. Lawmakers are concerned that TikTok is a threat to national security.

ByteDance is based in China. Lawmakers worry that TikTok is collecting user data and could be used as a tool to influence U.S. elections. If TikTok continues to 
be owned by ByteDance, it could be banned in the U.S.

Raja Krishnamoorthi helped introduce the bill in Congress. 
He says that as long as TikTok is owned by ByteDance and must answer to the Chinese government, it “poses critical threats” to the U.S.

The bill must be approved by the U.S. Senate, then signed by the president, before taking effect.

If the bill passes, the president would have new power over social-media platforms. He could name those owned by countries that are hostile to the U.S. as security threats. He would likely do this with TikTok. That would require ByteDance to sell the platform in 180 days or face a ban.

TikTok has asked its users to tell their representatives not to support the bill. It says a ban “will damage millions of businesses” and “destroy the livelihoods of countless creators.”

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