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US House to vote next week on TikTok crackdown bill

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WASHINGTON:

The US House of Representatives will fast-track a vote next week on legislation that would give China's ByteDance six months to divest from short video app TikTok or face a US ban after a committee unanimously approved the measure Thursday.

The Energy and Commerce Committee 50-0 vote represents the most significant momentum for a US crackdown on TikTok, which has about 170 million US users, since then President Donald Trump unsuccessfully tried to ban the app in 2020.

Prior efforts had stalled over the last year amid heavy lobbying by the company.

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House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on X lawmakers will vote next week "to force TikTok to sever their ties with the Chinese Communist party."

TikTok, which says it has not and would not share US user data with the Chinese government, argues the bill amounts to a ban and it is not clear if China would approve any sale, or that it could be divested in six months.

"This legislation has a predetermined outcome: a total ban of TikTok in the United States," the company said after the vote. "The government is attempting to strip 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression. This will damage millions of Businesses, deny artists an audience, and destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country."

Before the vote, lawmakers got a closed-door classified briefing on national security concerns about TikTok's Chinese ownership.

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