¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

Biden Signals Support for Bipartisan Bill to Ban TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

President Biden has indicated his readiness to endorse a swiftly advancing bipartisan bill that could lead to the prohibition of TikTok if approved by Congress, emphasizing concerns over national security implications linked to the popular social media platform.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden affirmed his willingness to sign the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, should it receive congressional approval. The legislation, spearheaded by Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), gained unanimous backing from the House Energy and Commerce Committee merely two days after its introduction.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced plans to expedite the bill to a House floor vote next week via X, the rebranded platform formerly known as Twitter.

Despite reservations voiced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) regarding the rapid legislative process, Democrats rallied behind the bill due to perceived national security risks associated with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

The proposed legislation mandates ByteDance to divest TikTok within 165 days upon enactment or face stringent sanctions, including expulsion from U.S. app stores and web hosting services. TikTok has vehemently opposed the bill, asserting that it effectively aims at a complete ban of the platform in the United States.

In a bid to thwart the bill’s progression, TikTok launched a concerted campaign urging users to contact Congress and forestall a potential shutdown. Beyond targeting ByteDance and TikTok, the bill outlines a mechanism for the president to identify other applications with national security vulnerabilities linked to foreign adversaries such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

Critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, have raised concerns about the bill’s potential infringement on free speech rights. Notably, former President Trump, currently seeking reelection, signaled his opposition to the legislation, suggesting that banning TikTok could inadvertently benefit Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

As debates surrounding the bill intensify, its fate hinges on congressional deliberations and potential repercussions for the landscape of social media regulation and national security policy.