A new bill aimed at banning TikTok if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, fails to divest the popular social media app is set to be discussed in the US congressional committee. Sponsored by Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the legislation seeks to safeguard American users from potential threats posed by foreign-controlled applications.

The proposed Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, puts forth a clear ultimatum for ByteDance: either sell TikTok to a non-Chinese entity within 165 days or face prohibition from app stores and web hosting until compliance is met.

Emphasizing national security concerns, Gallagher stated, “America’s foremost adversary has no business controlling a dominant media platform in the United States.” Similarly, Krishnamoorthi stressed the need to shield American social media users from potential digital surveillance and influence operations orchestrated by foreign regimes.

Under the draft law, the US president would be empowered to identify social media apps run by foreign entities deemed to pose a national security threat. These apps could then be subjected to similar divestment requirements or face a complete ban.

The legislation is part of ongoing efforts by the US government to restrict TikTok’s operations within its borders. Despite previous attempts by both the Trump and Biden administrations to ban the app, legal challenges and congressional hurdles have impeded such efforts.

At a congressional hearing earlier this year, TikTok CEO Shou Chew reiterated the company’s stance on data privacy, affirming that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government. However, revelations from a former ByteDance executive and ongoing concerns about data security have fueled calls for stricter measures against the app.

As the debate over TikTok’s future in the United States intensifies, the congressional committee’s consideration of the proposed ban bill underscores growing bipartisan support for addressing national security risks posed by foreign-controlled social media platforms.