Lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress on Tuesday that would require China’s ByteDance to divest from TikTok to avoid a ban on the video app in the US

Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., introduced the legislation, called the Protecting Americans from Apps Controlled by Foreign Enemies Act. The bill says TikTok is controlled by a foreign adversary and poses a threat to US national security.

“This is my message to TikTok: break with the Chinese Communist Party or lose access to your American users,” Gallagher, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s House of Representatives, said in press release announcement of the bill. Krishnamoorthi is a senior member of the committee.

If the bill passes, ByteDance would have about five months to divest from TikTok, while web hosting companies and app stores such as those owned by An apple and Google will be forced to stop supporting the app and others related to ByteDance.

“This bill is a total ban on TikTok, no matter how much creators try to cover it up,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. “This legislation would trample on the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.”

The proposed legislation marks the latest action in Washington, D.C.’s years-long effort to crack down on TikTok and its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party, which TikTok CEO Shaw Zi Chu has denied in Senate hearings.

President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2022 designed to prevent access and use of TikTok on government-owned devices, and other states have enacted similar government-related bans on TikTok apps.

Donald Trump, Biden’s predecessor in the White House, had previously said that TikTok posed a national security threat because it collected data on US users that could then be accessed by the Chinese government. In mid-2020, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States issued a ruling that ByteDance must sell its American assets within 90 days.

Earlier attempts to ban TikTok in the US appear to have stalled, leaving some states like Montana to try to impose their own bans. In November, a Montana federal judge blocked the state’s law, saying Montana had failed to show how it would be “constitutionally permissible.” It’s Montana now attractive the judge’s decision.

In February, Biden’s re-election campaign debuted an official TikTok account, which Gallagher criticized.

“This is unacceptable,” Gallagher told the media an interview at this time. “I’m calling on the Gen Z TikTok senior campaign staff to reverse course in the interest of national security.”

The Pew Research Center released a research in December, indicating that support for the US government ban on TikTok is waning. The survey found that 38% of US adults supported banning TikTok as of October, compared to 50% in March.

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