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Trump raises concerns over potential TikTok ban in US

Former US President Donald Trump, who is currently running for president, has raised concerns about the TikTok ban in US ahead of a vote on a TikTok bill in the US House of Representatives next week. TikTok is the overseas version of the Chinese short video application Douyin. It has about 170 million American users and is owned by China’s ByteDance. The House bill gives ByteDance six months to divest TikTok.

The former Republican president is currently seeking a return to the White House. He wrote on the social media website Truth Social on the evening of Thursday (March 7): “If you kill TikTok, Facebook’s… business will double,” he added, adding that he didn’t want Facebook to “do better.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately comment on whether Trump had any position on the bill. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, declined to comment.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 50-0 on Thursday to pass the bill to combat TikTok. TikTok has approximately 170 million U.S. users.

The bill will give ByteDance 180 days to divest from TikTok. Otherwise, app stores operated by Apple, Google, and other companies will not be able to legally provide TikTok applications or provide ByteDance-controlled applications. The program provides web hosting services.

The bill also allows for legal proceedings to be brought against it within 165 days after it comes into effect.

In 2022, then-President Trump tried to ban TikTok and WeChat, the overseas version of WeChat owned by a Chinese company, but was blocked by the court.

Trump said in an August 2020 executive order that TikTok’s data collection “risks giving the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors. , establishing personal information files for blackmail, and engaging in commercial espionage.”

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TikTok has said it does not and will not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government. TikTok argued that the House bill amounted to a ban, and it was uncertain whether China would approve any sale or whether the divestment could occur within six months.

The company said after the House committee vote: “This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban on TikTok in the United States. The government is trying to deprive 170 million Americans of their constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech. This will harm millions of merchants, depriving arts workers of their audience and destroying the livelihoods of countless creators across the country.”

The app is popular, and passing the bill in an election year may be difficult. Last month, Democratic President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign also began using TikTok.

Trump’s campaign has not joined TikTok.

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