TikTok legislation, included in a package of deals that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel, could be approved as early as this week if the House pushes it through. Last month, the House passed legislation requiring ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell the platform within six months. Failure to do so would incur a U.S. ban on the popular app.

However, select representatives believe that six months would be too short for a complex deal of this monetary value, potentially reaching tens of billions of dollars. This concern led to a modified version of the legislation, to be included by the House in the foreign-aid package.

The revisal would give ByteDance nine months to complete the sale of TikTok, and potentially a three-month extension if the deal is in progress. Also included in the legislation is a bar to keep the company from controlling TikTok’s algorithm which feeds users content based on their interests.

Reasons for a TikTok Ban

The disdain for TikTok is one topic that crosses the proverbial aisle on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on both sides, as well as the Intelligence Community (IC), have been concerned over the possibility of the Chinese government forcing ByteDance to hand over the user data of more than 170 million Americans. The Chinese national security laws require companies to assist with intel gathering, and ByteDance would be subject to that requirement.

Lawmakers are also concerned that the Chinese government could force ByteDance to use its algorithm to suppress or boost their interests in impressionable users of the app. TikTok has remained steadfast that it could not be used as a tool of the Chinese government.

To date, the U.S. government still has not provided any public evidence that shows TikTok shares user information with the Chinese authorities or manipulates its algorithm.

Next Steps

The foreign-aid package that has the TikTok legislation attached to it has momentum, but faces resistance on other topics.

There is also opposition from lawmakers who believe that imposing this bill will ‘stifle free expression, tramples constitutional rights, and disrupt the economic pursuits of millions of Americans,” as stated in a tweet last month by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. President Joe Biden stated that he will sign the legislation on TikTok if it gets to his desk.

TikTok has already stated that it will challenge the legislation if that does happen. They have already sued to counter previous attempts to ban the platform, both at the national and state level.

Fighting back

TikTok has already spent more than $5 million on ads opposing the legislation since March. The ads emphasize the company’s investments in data safety, positive impacts on small businesses, and fostering a community of content creators on the platform.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” said Alex Haurek, a spokesperson for TikTok.

Even the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped up to oppose the House bill. They argued that the addition of three months given to ByteDance wasn’t ‘meaningful’ and would end the same way as the first bill; with the banning of TikTok.

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Aaron Knowles has been writing news for more than 10 years, mostly working for the U.S. Military. He has traveled the world writing sports, gaming, technology and politics. Now a retired U.S. Service Member, he continues to serve the Military Community through his non-profit work.