US lawmakers just introduced another bill to ban TikTok. Here's what it means

A US Select House Committee unanimously passed a bill to allow the president to enforce a nationwide ban on TikTok.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
US Capitol Building
Omar Chatriwala/Getty Images

This week, US government officials are trying again to push legislation to ban TikTok, the popular short-form video platform. TikTok has been under intense scrutiny by the US government for years. Former President Donald Trump first attempted to force Chinese tech company ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, to sell the app to American tech giant Microsoft in 2020.

Since then, countries worldwide have banned TikTok on government-owned devices, and US state governments have passed legislation to ban the app, citing national security concerns.

Also: TikTok bans explained: Everything you need to know

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bipartisan bill that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a nationwide ban. Lawmakers warn that TikTok can be used as a tool for the Chinese government to spy on Americans, influence elections, and derail American national security.

The US House committee's bill is called the "Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act." Although the bill doesn't directly address TikTok, US House representatives sponsoring the bill frequently referenced TikTok in statements regarding the legislation.

If the bill becomes law, the president can identify applications associated with adversarial countries and ban them from app stores and web hosting services. However, it would avoid a ban if the application cuts ties with the hostile country within 180 days.

The new legislation has the White House's support but has a long way to go before becoming law. The bill received a unanimous vote from the House committee but still needs to pass through the House, reach the Senate, pass Senate voting, and then receive a signature from the president to become law. 

Also: What is Lapse? Everything to know about the popular invite-only social media app

The new bill succeeds the RESTRICT Act and DATA Act proposed by US Senate and House members last year. Both bills aimed to revise current legislation surrounding the president's ability to enforce nationwide bans on applications the government believes pose national security threats. 

However, neither the RESTRICT nor the DATA Act have passed the Senate or House floors. No concrete evidence has been made public that TikTok is a national security concern, but US government officials have remained firm on that sentiment for over a year.

Editorial standards