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Senate passes bill forcing TikTok's parent company to sell or face ban, sends to Biden for signature

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Senate passes bill forcing TikTok's parent company to sell or face ban, sends to Biden for signature
News

News

Senate passes bill forcing TikTok's parent company to sell or face ban, sends to Biden for signature

2024-04-24 10:47 Last Updated At:10:50

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers that’s expected to face legal challenges and disrupt the lives of content creators who rely on the short-form video app for income.

The TikTok legislation was included as part of a larger $95 billion package that provides foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel and was passed 79-18. It now goes to President Joe Biden, who said in a statement immediately after passage that he will sign it Wednesday.

A decision made by House Republicans last week to attach the TikTok bill to the high-priority package helped expedite its passage in Congress and came after negotiations with the Senate, where an earlier version of the bill had stalled. That version had given TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, six months to divest its stakes in the platform. But it drew skepticism from some key lawmakers concerned it was too short of a window for a complex deal that could be worth tens of billions of dollars.

The revised legislation extends the deadline, giving ByteDance nine months to sell TikTok, and a possible three-month extension if a sale is in progress. The bill would also bar the company from controlling TikTok’s secret sauce: the algorithm that feeds users videos based on their interests and has made the platform a trendsetting phenomenon.

TikTok did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday night.

The passage of the legislation is a culmination of long-held bipartisan fears in Washington over Chinese threats and the ownership of TikTok, which is used by 170 million Americans. For years, lawmakers and administration officials have expressed concerns that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over U.S. user data, or influence Americans by suppressing or promoting certain content on TikTok.

“Congress is not acting to punish ByteDance, TikTok or any other individual company," Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell said. "Congress is acting to prevent foreign adversaries from conducting espionage, surveillance, maligned operations, harming vulnerable Americans, our servicemen and women, and our U.S. government personnel.”

Opponents of the bill say the Chinese government could easily get information on Americans in other ways, including through commercial data brokers that traffic in personal information. The foreign aid package includes a provision that makes it illegal for data brokers to sell or rent “personally identifiable sensitive data” to North Korea, China, Russia, Iran or entities in those countries. But it has encountered some pushback, including from the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the language is written too broadly and could sweep in journalists and others who publish personal information.

Many opponents of the TikTok measure argue the best way to protect U.S. consumers is through implementing a comprehensive federal data privacy law that targets all companies regardless of their origin. They also note the U.S. has not provided public evidence that shows TikTok sharing U.S. user information with Chinese authorities, or that Chinese officials have ever tinkered with its algorithm.

“Banning TikTok would be an extraordinary step that requires extraordinary justification,” said Becca Branum, a deputy director at the Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology, which advocates for digital rights. “Extending the divestiture deadline neither justifies the urgency of the threat to the public nor addresses the legislation’s fundamental constitutional flaws.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat who voted for the legislation, said he has concerns about TikTok, but he's also worried the bill could have negative effects on free speech, doesn't do enough to protect consumer privacy and could potentially be abused by a future administration to violate First Amendment rights.

“I plan to watchdog how this legislation is implemented,” Wyden said in a statement.

China has previously said it would oppose a forced sale of TikTok, and has signaled its opposition this time around. TikTok, which has long denied it’s a security threat, is also preparing a lawsuit to block the legislation.

“At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, wrote in a memo sent to employees on Saturday and obtained by The Associated Press.

“This is the beginning, not the end of this long process," Beckerman wrote.

The company has seen some success with court challenges in the past, but it has never sought to prevent federal legislation from going into effect.

In November, a federal judge blocked a Montana law that would ban TikTok use across the state after the company and five content creators who use the platform sued. Three years before that, federal courts blocked an executive order issued by then-President Donald Trump to ban TikTok after the company sued on the grounds that the order violated free speech and due process rights.

The Trump administration then brokered a deal that had U.S. corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in TikTok. But the sale never went through.

Trump, who is running for president again this year, now says he opposes the potential ban.

Since then, TikTok has been in negotiations about its future with the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a little-known government agency tasked with investigating corporate deals for national security concerns.

On Sunday, Erich Andersen, a top attorney for ByteDance who led talks with the U.S. government for years, told his team that he was stepping down from his role.

“As I started to reflect some months ago on the stresses of the last few years and the new generation of challenges that lie ahead, I decided that the time was right to pass the baton to a new leader,” Andersen wrote in an internal memo that was obtained by the AP. He said the decision to step down was entirely his and was decided months ago in a discussion with the company’s senior leaders.

Meanwhile, TikTok content creators who rely on the app have been trying to make their voices heard. Earlier Tuesday, some creators congregated in front the Capitol building to speak out against the bill and carry signs that read “I’m 1 of the 170 million Americans on TikTok," among other things.

Tiffany Cianci, a content creator who has more than 140,000 followers on the platform and had encouraged people to show up, said she spent Monday night picking up creators from airports in the D.C. area. Some came from as far as Nevada and California. Others drove overnight from South Carolina or took a bus from upstate New York.

Cianci says she believes TikTok is the safest platform for users right now because of Project Texas, TikTok's $1.5 billion mitigation plan to store U.S. user data on servers owned and maintained by the tech giant Oracle.

“If our data is not safe on TikTok," she said. “I would ask why the president is on TikTok.”

__

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Matt O'Brien contributed to this report.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., center, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., center, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Jennifer Gay, a TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Jennifer Gay, a TikTok content creator, sits outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington, as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

A TikTok content creator, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Washington, as Senators prepare to consider legislation that would force TikTok's China-based parent company to sell the social media platform under the threat of a ban, a contentious move by U.S. lawmakers. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Next Article

Shaqiri scores stunning goal in Switzerland's 1-1 draw with Scotland at Euro 2024

2024-06-20 09:28 Last Updated At:09:30

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — “Shaq” did it again.

At the age of 32 and having left top-flight European soccer behind to play in MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri is back on the international stage and back scoring again.

His stunning first-half strike secured a 1-1 draw for Switzerland against Scotland at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

It is the sixth-straight major international tournament in which Shaqiri has scored, dating to the World Cup in 2014.

That’s three World Cups in a row and now three European Championships for the Chicago Fire forward. According to UEFA he is the first player to achieve that feat.

“He proved tonight that he lives and breathes for moments like these,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said.

Shaqiri rolled back the years with a first-time curling effort from about 20 meters out at Cologne Stadium.

Scotland led from the 13th minute when Scott McTominay’s shot took a wicked deflection off Fabian Schar to beat Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

But Shaqiri pounced on Anthony Ralston’s loose pass in the 26th to even the match with a left-footed shot into the top corner and past Scotland keeper Angus Gunn.

“If that chance falls to any other player in the Swiss team, it’s not a goal,” Scotland manager Steve Clarke said. “You knew when it was rolling towards Shaqiri it was destined for the back of the net. He’s a top, top player, so you don’t give top, top players that kind of chance.”

Shaqiri’s career has seen him play for some of Europe’s most iconic teams, including Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool. He joined the Fire two years ago, but in that time has continued to produce for his country on the biggest stage.

“Shaq always gives everything in training,” Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji said. “I don’t know how many other players are able to score that goal.”

The draw leaves Switzerland on four points, second in Group A behind Germany and likely to advance to the round of 16.

Germany became the first nation to advance after a 2-0 win over Hungary earlier in the day.

Scotland’s hopes of making the knockout round depend on its final game against Hungary on Sunday and results elsewhere. No team has failed to advance from the group stage with four points.

Both teams had chances to win the game.

The Swiss should have taken the lead just before the hour mark when Dan Ndoye turned Kieran Tierney on the edge of the box. With just goalkeeper Angus Gunn to beat, Ndoye fired wide of goal.

Grant Hanley then headed against the post from a Scotland free kick and Switzerland’s Zeki Amdouni headed wide at the far post late on.

Scotland has never advanced beyond the group stage of a World Cup or Euros on 11 previous attempts.

But repeated disappointment doesn’t seem to dampen optimism among its fans, who filled Cologne’s square before the game.

Swiss supporters were out in numbers, too, creating a raucous atmosphere in the stadium.

It was certainly a more enjoyable evening for Scotland’s fans than the opening game of the Euros — a 5-1 loss to Germany.

“It was what we expected. It was a good reaction to a disappointing night. We’re still alive in the tournament,” Clarke said.

Goals from Jamal Musiala and İlkay Gündoğan made it two wins from two for host Germany after victory against Hungary and ensured there would be no repeat of its group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup.

Albania substitute Klaus Gjasula scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hold World Cup semifinalist Croatia to a 2-2 draw in Group B. Gjasula’s own goal, just four minutes after entering the game in the second half, had looked like handing Croatia the win until his late strike.

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

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