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'This App Is Chinese Spyware:' Lawmakers Pass Bill that Could Potentially Ban TikTok over Security Concerns

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Members of Congress are being flooded with calls from angry constituents after passing a bill that could ban the popular social media app TikTok.

The measure overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday giving TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance six months to sell the app or see it blocked from app stores in America.

"This bill therefore forces TikTok to break up with the Chinese Communist Party," said GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, Chairman of the House China Select Committee. 

Intelligence officials argue that TikTok poses a national security threat and that the Chinese government could demand access to information about TikTok's 170 million American users. They also argue that manipulation of algorithms, especially ahead of the November election, is cause for concern.

FBI Director Christopher Wray director confirmed these risks in testimony before Congress this week.

"And if they went to them and said, 'we want you to change your algorithm so that Americans start seeing videos that hurt this candidate or help that candidate in the upcoming election,' ByteDance would have to do that under Chinese law?" Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked Wray.

Wray responded, "That's my understanding."

Rubio continued, "And if they said, 'We want you to put out videos that make Americans fight with each other or spread conspiracy theories and get them at each other's throat,' ByteDance can't go to Chinese court and fight the communist party, they would have to do it?"

"That's my understanding," said Wray.

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Former President Trump, who once supported banning the app, recently flipped his stance. He cites concerns that blocking TikTok would give other social media companies like Facebook more power.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump's former Vice President Mike Pence encouraged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying, "There can be no doubt that this app is Chinese spyware and that a sale to a non-foreign adversary company is in the best interests of the American people."

TikTok says it has never shared its information with the Chinese government. 

Users say a ban would impact small businesses that rely on the platform for marketing and selling products.

"My whole business would be devastated," said TikTok user Brandon. "I would lose the opportunity to connect with millions of people on a regular basis and a community I've worked hard to build would be gone."

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate where its passage is uncertain. President Biden has said that he will sign it into law if it reaches his desk. 

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About The Author

Charlene Aaron

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter, news anchor, co-host of The 700 Club, co-host of 700 Club Interactive, and co-host of The Prayerlink on the CBN News Channel. She covers various social issues, such as abortion, gender identity, race relations, and more. Before joining CBN News in 2003, she was a personal letter writer for Dr. Pat Robertson. Charlene attended Old Dominion University and Elizabeth City State University. She is an ordained minister and pastor’s wife. She lives in Smithfield, VA, with her husband.