Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

USA TODAY:  The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would restrict the video app TikTok, a historic development in government regulation of social media that's on track to quickly become law.

Tucked into a $95 billion foreign aid package, the legislation will give TikTok's Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, up to a year to sell the app. If they don't, it would be banned from U.S. app stores and web hosting companies.

It received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress: The Senate passed the package 79-18 and the House approved the TikTok portion of the bill 360-58. President Joe Biden has said he would sign the legislation.

Proponents of the policy say that the app poses a national security risk. Lawmakers, informed by Biden administration intelligence briefings, have raised concerns about the possibility of the Chinese government spying on Americans and spreading propaganda through the app. Around 170 million Americans use the platform.

"We are giving people a choice here: To improve this platform and have the opportunity for Americans to make sure that they are not being maligned by our foreign adversaries," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, on the Senate floor Thursday.

TikTok says the Chinese government hasn't requested American users' data, and that it would not hand it over if they did. They also argue that the legislation violates Americans' right to free speech, and that banning the app would harm small businesses who rely on the app for exposure.

So far, there has been no public evidence that the app is being used to spy on U.S. citizens, but reporting from multiple outlets have indicated TikTok's American operation has struggled to fully separate from its Chinese parent company.

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