Is TikTok going to be banned in the US?

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The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday (March 13) that could potentially result in a nationwide TikTok ban.

Under the proposed legislation, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is required to divest from the social media platform within a period of 165 days — or face a “total ban” from the country.

This would entail selling the social media platform’s US operations to a company based outside China, writes The Guardian.

Overwhelming support was seen from congressmen within the house, with 352 members voting in favour of the bill which is now set to go to the US Senate.

If the bill is passed, it will go to President Biden, who reportedly said he would “sign it as soon as it lands on his desk”.

Read this next: How emerging DJs are using TikTok to reach millions

According to Wallaroo Media, the media giant reported a total 220 million TikTok downloads in the United States, with over a billion people using the platform to watch, share and create TikTok videos.

Since TikTok’s meteoric rise to dominance in global media, there have been concerns about privacy and the political influence of the platform.

According to the BBC co-author of the bill, Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican said the US could not “take the risk of having a dominant news platform in America controlled or owned by a company that is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party”.

Sky News reported that Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser said “the goal is ending Chinese ownership – not banning TikTok”.

Read this next: Fuck the algorithm: Can artists forge a career without the help of social media?

TikTok has reportedly stated that it is unclear whether it could even complete a sale within six months.

“The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country” argued a company representative.

Though it is unclear how many people make a living via the app, the latest industry data shows that TikTok influencers earn an average salary of $121,765.

In the music industry, ‘TikTok songs’ have become a source of discovery for both music listeners and musicians alike, with relatively unheard-of artists boosted to stardom after racking up TikTok views.

Read this next: Kölsch: “I truly believe social media has saved electronic music”

A video from a recent hearing on child safety shows TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew questioned over his connections to China and the communist party by Senator, Tim Cotton, to which he responds “Senator, I’m Singaporean”.

Cotton reportedly faced widespread backlash over this line of questioning with Democrat Ted Lieu writing on Twitter: “Dear @SenTomCotton: FYI, in Asia there are different countries. Citizens of different countries may look similar to you, but in fact they are from different countries”.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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