+1 vote
in General Factchecking by Journeyman (2.5k points)

There have been a lot of rumors in the media lately in regard to a potential ban on TikTok in the U.S. According to NBC News, the White House backs the bill that could be used to ban the social media app. Is this true? If so, what progress has been made to ban the app, and how likely is it that it will be banned (if that can be measured at this point in time)?

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/restrict-act-bill-tiktok-rcna73682

2 Answers

+2 votes
by Journeyman (2.9k points)
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Looking at several sources covering the bipartisan bill that could be used to ban to TikTok, it is confirmed by multiple sources saying that the White House is backing this legislation. While TikTok is the focus of this bill in the media, it would ultimately give the Commerce Department the ability to impose restrictions on apps, including banning TikTok and other technologies posing a threat to national security.

According to Reuters, the senators introducing the legislation is led by Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican John Thune. Others pushing this bill include 5 Democratic Senators and 5 Republican Senators. All of their names can be found in the Reuters link I will provide below. Also according to the article the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan praised the bill saying, it “would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors.”

https://www.reuters.com/technology/twelve-us-senators-back-giving-commerce-secretary-new-powers-ban-tiktok-2023-03-07/

On March 24, 2023 TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew spoke at a hearing of the House of Energy and Commerce Committee to cover topics arising with the platform as well as concerns on its effects. The main concern with the app is supposed to be focused with security concerns over the possibility of Chinese government officials gaining access to U.S. user data.

Shou Zi Chew outlined Project Texas, which a proposal by the company to use Austin-based cloud computing company Oracle to vet its code and ensure that U.S. user data are stored in the country and firewalled from access by foreign governments. Saying, this would eliminate concern that some have of TikTok user data being subject to Chinese law. He also pointed out that ByteDance, owner of TikTok, is a private company and is not owned by the Chinese government.

This hearing stemmed after the Biden Administration is wanting to force ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok or face a ban in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese government planned to resist the forced sale and also released statements saying this would or could hurt potential future dealings with the United States.

The White House announced in February to ban TikTok on all devices owned by federal agencies. This is a step The United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union have already done, along with India in 2020.

https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2023-03-23/tiktok-ceo-faces-bipartisan-grilling-over-privacy-china-ties-and-teens

To answer your question, Yes this bill if passed could give the Commerce Department the authority to ban the app in the United States. According to Keating House, this a simple breakdown of the legislative process to get a bill passed and signed into law.

  • First, a Representative sponsors a bill. 
  • The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. 
  • If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. 
  • If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. 
  • In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. 
  • If the Senate makes changes, the bill must return to the House for concurrence.  
  • The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval. 
  • The President then has 10 days to veto the final bill or sign it into law.

https://keating.house.gov/policy-work/legislative-process

The bill has passed a key House committee on a party-line vote, meaning it should now move on to the Senate, but this is only half-way through the process listed above. To answer your question on time before it would or could be banned if the bill is approved, cannot be answered at this time. We simply don’t know if it will pass as it moves along the process, and then if the Senate makes any changes it would have to go back to be voted on again.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/01/new-tiktok-ban-bill-passes-key-house-committee-on-a-party-line-vote.html

True
by Genius (38.8k points)
Your explanation is thorough and does a great job of describing the situation/background and demonstrating that you believe the claim is true. I also like that you've provided multiple sources via reputable media outlets as well as pertinent information from each. Good work!
+1 vote
by Novice (980 points)
This is true. The White House has stated that it backed legislation introduced this past Tuesday by a dozen senators to give the administration new powers to ban TikTok and other foreign based technologies if they pose a nation security threat. The bill gives the commerce department the authority to impose restrictions up to and including banning TikTok. The bill also applies to foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba. The bill would require the commerce secretary to identify and address foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/mar/07/white-house-bipartisan-bill-tiktok-ban
True

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