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March 25, 2023 9:31 am

Threat of US Ban on TikTok Looms after CEO Grilled in Congress

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avatar by i24 News

TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration taken, August 22, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

i24 News – A ban on Chinese-owned TikTok in the United States seems increasingly inevitable after the brutal grilling of the social media platform’s CEO by Washington lawmakers on Friday.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew endured a barrage of questions from US lawmakers who made their belief clear that the app – the most popular social media in the US and best known for sharing jokes and dance routines – was a threat to US national security as well as being a danger to mental health.

In a tweet, TikTok executive Vanessa Pappas deplored the hearing as “rooted in xenophobia.”

With both Republicans and Democrats against him in Congress, Chew must now confront a White House ultimatum that TikTok either sever ties with ByteDance, its China-based parent company, or get banned in the United States. Still, US President Joe Biden’s administration must move carefully in denying 150 million American users their favorite platform over its links to China – especially after a previous effort by former president Donald Trump was struck down.

A ban will depend on the passage of legislation called the RESTRICT ACT, a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate earlier this month that would give the US Commerce Department the power to ban foreign technology that threatens national security.

The sell-or-get-banned order followed over two years of negotiations that resulted in a proposal by TikTok called “Project Texas,” in which the personal data of US users would stay in the United States and be inaccessible to Chinese law or oversight. But the White House turned sour on the idea after authorities said vulnerabilities to China would remain.

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