Lawmakers have a new plan to force ByteDance to sell TikTok

A group of legislators have introduced a new bill that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok so the app can remain available in the United States. The “Protecting Americans from Apps Controlled by Foreign Adversaries Act” would ban US app stores and web hosting services from distributing TikTok unless it splits from parent company ByteDance.

The bill is the latest in a long line of attempts by lawmakers and other officials to ban or force the sale of the app. Former President Donald Trump tried to impose TikTok in 2020, but ultimately failed. The Biden administration is also putting pressure on the company. And a U.S. District Court judge recently tried to ban the app in Montana.

The new bill, which comes from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House, takes a different approach. That would give ByteDance a six-month window to sell TikTok before app store-level bans take effect. It will also require TikTok and other apps to “provide users with a copy of their data in a format that can be imported” into competing apps. And although TikTok is mentioned several times in of the bill, the legislation would open the door to bans on other apps “controlled by a foreign adversary” if the president deems them a threat to national security.

“This bill is a complete ban on TikTok, no matter how much creators try to cover it up,” TikTok said in . “This legislation will trample on the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on for growth and job creation.”

TikTok CEO Shou Chew said the sale fully addresses employee concerns about user data in the US. The company has spent years trying to address national security concerns about its service with an initiative called Under the plan, which resulted from years of negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), US users’ data would be separated into US-based servers and government officials would be able to monitor TikTok’s source code audits and other aspects of his operations.

The Washington Post last year that TikTok’s negotiations with CFIUS had recently been “revived amid doubts that [Biden] the administration has the power to ban TikTok on its own.” If Congress succeeds in passing the new bill, it would clarify those questions and create a new process to force ByteDance’s hand.

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