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House Committee Unanimously Advances Bill That Could Make TikTok Unavailable in U.S.

A bill that could render TikTok banned from new downloads in the United States quickly advanced to the house on Thursday afternoon after a bipartisan committee voted 50-0 for its approval.

The bill, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was introduced earlier this month by representatives Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi. If enacted, the legislation would block apps owned by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, from being available in Apple or Google app stores in the U.S.

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More specifically, the bill would prohibit apps owned by the Beijing-based company to be downloaded in the United States unless ByteDance divested its applications, including TikTok, within 180 days of the legislation’s enactment. On a broader level, the bill would also allow the White House to — in certain cases — ban access to an app owned by a foreign adversary if the application threatened national security.

TikTok responded to the bill with a statement released shortly after its passing which read, “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.”

The ACLU also released a statement slamming the proposed bill, writing that “our elected officials are once again trying to trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points.”

The statement continued, “Whether it’s watching cooking tutorials, discussing the news of the day, or livestreaming protests, we have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the world.”

TikTok, the massively popular video-sharing platform, has proved quite influential in Hollywood. HBO CEO Casey Bloys recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s an entire ecosystem of people who write about television, and want to talk about it, and get on social media and criticize it or praise it, or whatever. The effect of all of it together is to keep the show in the cultural conversation.”

Recent examples of the phenomenon’s successes include last summer’s Barbenheimer trend, which saw massive box office success spurred in part by social media trends, and December’s Anyone But You, which proved a critical failure but was a beloved success on TikTok.

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