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  • Parv Jain

Free Speech Under Threat, TikTok Warns Against US House Bill

TikTok Ban

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could ban TikTok unless its Chinese owner, ByteDance, sells its part within a year. The bill, which the House approved by a large majority, is now going to the Senate for a vote. President Joe Biden has said he would sign it. This move comes amid concerns from U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration that China could use TikTok to collect data from its 170 million U.S. users, posing a national security threat.

TikTok argues this bill could silence the voices of millions of Americans and goes against free speech rights protected by the First Amendment. They insist they have never shared U.S. user data and never will. Additionally, some Democrats think banning TikTok could violate free speech rights and suggest creating stronger laws to protect user data instead.

Senator Mark Warner expressed concerns that TikTok could serve as a tool for Chinese propaganda. The Knight First Amendment Institute noted that the bill might not be effective since other countries can still access American data through different means. The House recently voted to give ByteDance six months to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations, with a possible extension of three months.


Q1. What is the main reason behind the proposed TikTok ban?

The main concern is that TikTok's Chinese ownership could pose a national security risk by potentially allowing China to access the personal data of its 170 million U.S. users.

Q2. What are some legal concerns regarding the TikTok ban?

Some lawmakers, including Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, believe that a ban on TikTok might not withstand legal scrutiny in court due to free speech protections under the Constitution.

Q3. What alternative solutions have been suggested instead of a ban?

Some legislators suggest enhancing data privacy laws rather than banning TikTok, to better protect individuals’ personal information without infringing on free speech.


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