The US Senate supports a possible ban on the social network “TikTok” in the country due to security concerns

The US Senate supports a possible ban on the social network “TikTok” in the country due to security concerns
The US Senate supports a possible ban on the social network “TikTok” in the country due to security concerns
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Tok Tok.

Photo: AFP/SCANPIX

The US Senate, voting on several bills related to internal and external security on Tuesday evening, supported the decision to ban the social network “TikTok” in the United States if its owner, the Chinese company “ByteDance”, does not sell it.

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81 senators voted for, and 18 were against.

The decision by House Republicans to link TikTok to a foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, a priority for President Joe Biden, hastened passage of the ban after a separate bill stalled in the Senate with a six-month sales deadline as lawmakers worried that the half-year is too short a time for such a complex deal worth tens of billions of dollars.

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The bill passed by the Senate, which Biden has promised to sign on Wednesday, requires ByteDance to sell TikTok within nine months, but that deadline can be extended by another three months if a buyer has already been found and the sale process is underway.

ByteDance is expected to try to challenge the law in court, arguing that it would take away TikTok users’ right to free expression. The lawsuits could significantly delay the deadline set by Congress or block the law from taking effect.

Bipartisan officials, as well as intelligence officials, have expressed concern that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over American user data to them, or force the company to increase content on TikTok that favors their interests and limit content they don’t want. TikTok, which has 170 million users in the US, has denied allegations that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government and has said it has not shared US user data with Chinese authorities.

The U.S. government has not publicly provided evidence that TikTok shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government or influenced the company’s popular algorithm that determines what U.S.-based users see.

Several US states have restrictions and bans on the use of TikTok on public institutions’ devices.

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