House Committee Unanimously Advances Bill To Crack Down on Chinese-Owned TikTok

March 7, 2024

A committee in the House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously advanced a bill to crack down on TikTok for its ownership by a Chinese company.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act by a vote of 50-0, it said on X. That legislation, the most aggressive move against TikTok yet by Congress, would force ByteDance, TikTok's parent company in China, to sell the app, lest the U.S. government ban it from American app stores.

Thursday's development is a massive defeat for TikTok, which asked its users Thursday to call their representatives to stop the bill, telling them Congress was "planning a total ban of TikTok." The message led to a flood of calls to congressional offices, which Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D., Ill.), who lead the House's China committee, called "an example of an adversary-controlled application lying to the American people and interfering with the legislative process in Congress" in an X post. Officials have long been concerned about the app's ties to China, which have led to its being banned on government devices.

A TikTok spokesman told the Washington Post that only voting-age users received the message and that users who received the pop-up were not forced to make the call to use the app. He added that people across the country received it—and that the company was not targeting a specific region or district. The company said on X that the bill has "a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States." It added that the legislation, in addition to infringing on rights to freedom of expression, would "damage millions of businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country."

Gallagher said Thursday he will seek a full House vote on the legislation as soon as possible.