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US Senate passes bill to force sale of TikTok, sends it to Biden | Technology

US Senate passes bill to force sale of TikTok, sends it to Biden |  Technology


TikTok said legislation would trample on the free speech rights of 170 million Americans.

The US Senate has approved legislation that would ban popular video-sharing app TikTok unless it divests from its Chinese parent company.

Tuesday's vote paves the way for President Joe Biden, who supported the measures, to sign the bill into law, although the legislation is expected to be challenged in court.

The proposal, which would give Chinese company ByteDance nine months to sell the platform, was included in a larger $95 billion plan to provide foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel.

The Senate voted 79-18 to approve the package, after Republicans in the House of Representatives last week attached the TikTok bill to foreign aid proposals to help speed its passage through Congress.

The House passed the package Saturday in a bipartisan vote of 360-58.

Both Republicans and Democrats have claimed that TikTok threatens national security, arguing that the platform could be used by Beijing to spy on Americans and manipulate public debate.

TikTok has insisted that it has not shared US user data with the Chinese government and never would.

The vote comes just days after the US Congress approved the reauthorization of a controversial program allowing surveillance of US citizens' communications without a judicial warrant.

In a statement released Sunday, TikTok said the bill to force its sales would trample on the free speech rights of 170 million Americans.

TikTok is expected to seek a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the law pending a challenge to its constitutionality.

Last year, a judge in the US state of Montana blocked a similar ban after ruling it exceeded state power and likely violated the First Amendment.

Civil liberties organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, also opposed the proposals on free speech grounds.

A similar bill to force the sale of TikTok passed the House last month but was blocked in the Senate.

In 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok, but the move was blocked in court on the grounds that it violated free speech and due process rights.




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