Why has the US passed a bill to ban TikTok

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The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that could force the app’s Chinese owner ByteDance to divest from the company — or face a ban.

The US moved a step closer to banning TikTok after the House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday calling for the app’s Chinese developer ByteDance to divest from the company or be booted out of US app stores.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, receiving 352 votes in favour, and only 65 against.

Many House legislators have argued that the app could allow the Chinese government to access user data and influence Americans through the wildly popular social media platform’s addictive algorithm. The White House has backed the bill, with President Joe Biden saying he would sign it if it passes Congress.

The battle over TikTok is the latest front in US-China competition and Washington’s attempts to thwart potential foreign influence campaigns. In the case of TikTok, US legislators fear that ByteDance could be secretly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

The company has denied the allegations that it shares sensitive user data with the Chinese government. “ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government. It is a private company,” TikTok CEO Shou Chew said in a testimony before the Congress in March.

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