U.S. Senate passes TikTok-related bill

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On April 24, according to US media reports, on April 23 local time, the US Senate passed a bill involving TikTok. The bill requires Chinese technology company ByteDance to divest TikTok or the app will be banned from the United States.

The proposal goes to President Joe Biden. The House of Representatives passed the proposal on Saturday. Biden has previously stated that if the TikTok-related bill is submitted to the White House, he will immediately sign the bill. This means the bill is expected to become law soon.

The bill extends the time limit for divesting TikTok from 165 days to 270 days. If the president determines that the sale is progressing, the White House can also exercise the power to extend the time limit by 90 days. This extends the maximum period for ByteDance to sell TikTok to one year.

How much did ByteDance and TikTok spend on lobbying?

So far this year, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have spent a total of more than $7 million (approximately 50.72 million yuan) in funds to try to prevent the United States from passing legislation that may ban TikTok in the United States.

The latest public lobbying disclosure report shows that ByteDance alone spent a record $2.68 million on TikTok’s internal lobbyists in the first three months of this year to lobby Congress and federal officials. TikTok has spent more than $4.5 million on TV and digital ad campaigns this year to fight legislation that could lead to the app being banned, according to U.S. advertising consultancy AdImpact.

A TikTok spokesperson responded: “These expenses reflect our work to help policymakers understand how legislation affects our community of 170 million U.S. users.” Disclosure report reveals how TikTok managers lobbied Congress last quarter and President Biden’s Executive Office. The Executive Office of the President includes departments such as the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

TikTok has spent more than $400,000 on outside lobbying firms in Washington since January 1 of this year. ByteDance’s previous highest lobbying spending in the first quarter was in 2023, when it exceeded $1.8 million, according to data from the nonprofit OpenSecrets. In 2023, ByteDance and TikTok spent more than $8 million on lobbying.

U.S. senators have admitted: TikTok divestiture bill is a ban

As the U.S. Senate advances its vote on the TikTok divestment bill, two senators said during the debate that they hope TikTok will continue to operate in the United States under new owners. However, one of the senators also admitted that the TikTok divestment bill is actually a ban.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat, said lawmakers recognized that 170 million Americans use the short-video app, especially young people. “To those young Americans out there, I want to say, we hear your concerns, and we hope that TikTok can continue to operate under new ownership, whether it’s the United States or other countries… the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, France, it just can’t anymore controlled by our opponents,” Warner said.

However, Democratic Senator Ed Markey said ByteDance was unlikely to divest assets to maintain the app’s service to U.S. users. ” We should be very clear about the likely consequences of this law. This is actually a TikTok ban ,” he said.

Trump: Biden is responsible for banning TikTok and wants to strengthen Facebook

Trump posted on his social media “Truth Social” on Monday that Biden was responsible for banning TikTok and that he was pushing to shut down TikTok in order to help his friends on Facebook become richer and more dominant. leading position.

He then urged younger voters to take Biden’s stance into consideration on Election Day. TikTok has 170 million users in the United States, a large portion of which are young people.

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