Joe Biden says he would sign bill banning TikTok

US

Joe Biden has said he would sign legislation banning popular video-sharing app TikTok in the United States.

Legislation passed through the US House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously on Thursday calling on China’s ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok or effectively face a US ban.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, who supports the bill, has indicated it will soon come up for a full vote in the House.

Joe Biden. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters


“If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” Mr Biden said when asked by reporters about the legislation.

The White House had provided technical support in the drafting of the bill, but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier this week the TikTok legislation “still needs some work” to get to a place where Mr Biden would endorse it.

Former president Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential candidate, posted on his Truth Social platform on Thursday saying he opposed a ban because it would help rival social media platform Facebook.

He previously issued, then rescinded, an executive action late in his presidency intended to ban TikTok and another popular app, WeChat.

Both the FBI and Federal Communications Commission have warned TikTok owner ByteDance could share user data, such as browsing history, location and biometric identifiers, with China’s authoritarian government.

TikTok said it has never done that and would not do so if asked.

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Why is TikTok getting banned?

In 2022 Mr Biden banned the use of TikTok by the federal government’s nearly four million employees on devices owned by its agencies, with limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes.

While his administration has raised national security concerns about TikTok, Mr Biden’s re-election campaign joined the platform last month.

The UK also banned TikTok from government phones last year, bringing it in line with the US, Canada and EU.

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