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McConnell supports divestment of TikTok in the US

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US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has made a strong call for legislation that would require TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, a China-based company, to divest the popular short-video app. The move comes amid growing concerns about national security and Beijing's influence over the platform, which has a user base of 170 million Americans.

Accordingly Reuters, McConnell emphasized the constitutional precedent for such an action, stating, “Requiring a divestment of Beijing-influenced companies from TikTok would fall squarely within established constitutional precedent.” He also highlighted the potential threat to America's children and described TikTok as a tool , with which “America’s greatest strategic rival threatens our security here on U.S. soil in tens of millions of American homes.”

The call for divestment follows a crucial vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 13, in which a majority of 352-65 voted to give ByteDance about six months to divest TikTok's U.S. assets or face a threat possible ban.

Related: EU considers adding X, TikTok owner Bytedance and Booking to digital antitrust rules

Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell has indicated that discussions are underway with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner to develop a strategy for further implementation of TikTok -To formulate legislation. While Schumer did not comment on his stance on TikTok, he did mention that progress on bipartisan bills, including action on TikTok, is expected in the near future.

Cantwell emphasized the importance of developing tools to prevent foreign actors from engaging in activities that could harm U.S. citizens. Meanwhile, the debate over TikTok's future has intensified in Washington, with lawmakers receiving a flood of calls from users opposing the legislation.

TikTok, for its part, has defended its position, arguing that a ban would violate the First Amendment rights of its 170 million American users. The company has always maintained that it has never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government and has no intention of doing so.

Source: Reuters