back to article US House passes fresh TikTok ban proposal to Senate

Fresh US legislation to force the sale of TikTok locally was passed in Washington over the weekend after an earlier version stalled in the Senate. The House of Representatives voted on Saturday to approve a substantial foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel, and the TikTok bill was one of a handful considered alongside it …

  1. amajadedcynicaloldfart

    But it wasn't was it

    "This app is a spy balloon in Americans’ phones".

    Bollocks. If it had been a spy balloon we would never have heard the last of it. We heard almost nothing did we.

    I suppose I could be sarcastic and ask how are things going with that other National Security risk? You know, the Chinese Garlic thing. But I won't...

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67662779

    1. while 1 do {}

      Re: But it wasn't was it

      I think we have seen how this ends - think Huawei being ripped out of all Western country's networks despite activley working with British Intelligence and having their source code examined line by line and having nothing found.

      To be honest, I sometimes don't know why China bothers - divest itself of anything Western as quickly as possible and leave the West to sink or swim of their own devices - the state of the day to day living in the US and UK doesn't inspire a huge amount of confidence ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But it wasn't was it

        > "despite activley working with British Intelligence and having their source code examined line by line and having nothing found."

        Do you mind citing a credible source for this claim?

        This is not how things work. Huawei use their Lawful Interception software to spy on politicians and Chinese regime critics abroad. There are many instances of this. One of the most undeniable one is KPN Netherlands. This is from a report by Capgemini.

        The Chinese telecoms equipment supplier Huawei was able to monitor all calls made on one of the Netherlands’ largest mobile phone networks, according to a confidential report seen by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

        The report, made for KPN by the Capgemini consultancy firm in 2010, concluded that the Chinese company could have been monitoring the calls of the provider’s 6.5m users without the Dutch company’s knowledge, according to the newspaper.

        Conversations that Huawei staff in the Netherlands and China could have monitored included calls made by the then prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, and Chinese dissidents, the report claimed.

        Remember Huawei also manage their software on behalf of their customers. From their Shanghai or Shenzhen offices. When they don't have managed services of their software, they simply leave enough vulnerabilities to be able to break in whenever needed.

        > "I sometimes don't know why China bothers - divest itself of anything Western as quickly as possible and leave the West to sink or swim of their own devices"

        The exact opposite is happening right now. Net FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) from technologically advanced countries is now negative YoY, the Chinese economy is facing various crisis, Xi is doing everything he can to bring Western firms back (within the limits of his self-destructive ideology), Chinese companies and wealthy individuals are shoring up their capital offshore, especially in US assets and the Chinese Yuan is losing value to the dollar on a daily basis (despite various XR manipulation attempts).

        1. while 1 do {}

          Re: But it wasn't was it

          https://www.wired.com/story/huawei-gchq-security-evaluation-uk/

          https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/huawei-cyber-security-evaluation-centre-hcsec-oversight-board-annual-report-2021

          I'm in no way trying to convince you of Huawei's "innocence" - I've seen online that some people have views they'll take with them to the grave, evidence be damned - and I'm more than happy for you to believe that the West is the only place in the world that does good things, and China is the root of all evil - and certainly a large part of me saying that nothing nefarious has been found being done by Huawei comes from the fact that I'm very sure that it would be plastered all over Western press if they had been found doing something bad.

          What I don't understand is why the West didn't just make something up and blame it on Huawei - I also wondered why the US didn't just build a bunker, fill it with WMD in Iraq and show the world they were right - but then I got my answer - they don't even need to - the World hasn't even tried to bring them to task for invading and destroying a country - so why bother "proving" it?

          Same applies here I guess - mud sticks - so just throw as much of it as you can ...

          1. A1B2C3D4E5

            Re: But it wasn't was it

            The thing I found particularly interesting is that some analysis of ICs found that changes have been made to ICs but failed to mention who the perpetrators of this might be ...

            https://www.hackster.io/news/researchers-spot-silicon-level-hardware-trojans-in-chips-release-their-algorithm-for-all-to-try-ba00bbd56248

            Given how proof of this has actually been FOUND I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up by the free West and the perpetrators found and brought to task ... maybe because the West are doing it and it's therefore OK because it's being done for truth, democracy, freedom and the rule of law.

            Thank goodness - I was just about to lose some sleep

  2. Cav Bronze badge

    "trhe fdirst time the US government would have shut ma socxial media platform." Too much liquid refreshment at the weekend? :)

    This has nothing to do with the 1st amendment. TikTok, itself, is not being banned. Chinese ownership is. Given the authoritarian nature of the CCP and the pressure it brings to bear on Chinese people and companies, it is prudent not to allow it to have control of a company whose app is installed on billions of devices thoughout the world. It is not the same as Facebook or any other social media company.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whilst I agree with the first part, I don't think the situation with facebook and google are much better.

      The US government will take what they want.. especially when it's about a non-US citizen, when the courts are even less serious about court orders etc.

      There are real reasons why the EU has problems with data stored in the USA.

      And as for propaganda, we've already seen that facebook is a propaganda machine for those who pay the most.

      And the elephant in the room would be Fox News bullshit being broadcast all over the place.

      Finally, you can bet that you personally are of less interest to the Chinese than you are to your own government.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        After it was revealed that the American Democrat party was using Facebook, Google and pre-Musk Twitter as their mouthpiece, you come out with that nonsense?

        The problem with selling TikTok to an American is that it will likely go from CCP anti-western ownership to American leftist ownership.

        1. Cav Bronze badge

          Your thought processes are deranged. Anyone can post on Facebook etc. That's what freedom of speech is all about. The point is the CCP having control of an app that is installed on user devices. Who knows what data they might extract. Even you should be able to work out the difference.

          "to American leftist ownership." You say that like it's a bad thing. The alternative is the UnAmerican right that have no respect for reality or the rights of others that they deem "Sinful" or "unnatural" etc, etc.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            You imagine facebook, Tiktok, etc to just be lists of what other people have posted, displayed in order.

            They aren't. What you see is determined by algorithm. It was proven that Twitter, Facebook, etc, were (are?) surpressing conservative views as well as covering up whatever the Democrats asked them to ( eg: Hunter Biden's laptop ).

            If you use TikTok, that's giving the CCP direct control over what you watch. That's a bad thing.

            Obviously the data is a problem, but the indoctrination is a bigger problem.

            Your last line is just silly. Why pretend that the alternative is moderate left wing or crazy Christian fundamentalist with nothing else? "Left-wing" now means pro-Hamas, anti-West, pro-mutliating-children-in-the-name-of-trans-ideology, pro climate-alarmism ( ignoring science where it contradicts ) and Malthusianism.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You're in upsidedown world again.

          It was the right wing that exploited Facebook, and the Twitter stuff was proved to be bollocks.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            You are misinformed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I don't think the situation with facebook and google are much better.

        That's OK, they've been banned in China for ages...

        I guess the difference is whether spying on citizens is systematic or limited by judge warrant.

        > Finally, you can bet that you personally are of less interest to the Chinese than you are to your own government.

        Not so sure. Here is a recent investigation by Fortune: Some ex-TikTok employees say the social media service worked closely with its China-based parent despite claims of independence

        But with the House voting in March to force ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok, 11 former employees interviewed by Fortune tell a vastly different story. Many of those ex-workers, four of whom were employed as recently as last year, say at least some of TikTok’s operations were intertwined with its parent during their tenures, and that the company’s independence from China was largely cosmetic.

        Evan Turner, who worked at TikTok as a senior data scientist from April to September in 2022, said TikTok concealed the involvement of its Chinese owner during his employment. When hired, Turner initially reported to a ByteDance executive in Beijing. But later that year, after the company announced a major initiative to store TikTok’s U.S. user data only in the U.S, Turner was reassigned—on paper, at least—to an American manager in Seattle, he says. But Turner says a human resources representative revealed during a video conference call that he would, in reality, continue to work with the ByteDance executive.

        Nearly every 14 days, as part of Turner’s job throughout 2022, he emailed spreadsheets filled with data for hundreds of thousands of U.S. users to ByteDance workers in Beijing. That data included names, email addresses, IP addresses, and geographic and demographic information of TikTok U.S. users, he says. The goal was to sift through the information to mine for insights like the geographical regions where users watched the most videos of a particular genre and decide how the company should invest to encourage users to be more active. It all took place after the company had started its initiative to keep sensitive U.S. user data in the U.S., and only available to U.S. workers.

        “I literally worked on a project that gave U.S. data to China,” Turner says. “They were completely complicit in that. There were Americans that were working in upper management that were completely complicit in this.”

        In another example of potential data sharing between TikTok and ByteDance, Patrick Ryan Spaulding, who was TikTok’s lead technical program manager for security engineering until 2022, and another former TikTok U.S.-based employee, cited some of the company’s internal software systems that they said were maintained and monitored by China-based ByteDance teams. Lark, a Slack-like internal messaging system that ByteDance and TikTok share, is among the most important shared software systems used by the two businesses, say the former employees. Because Lark is run by ByteDance, ByteDance workers could see discussions by TikTok employees, including ones about U.S. user data.

        Nnete Matima, who worked in business development at both TikTok and ByteDance in the U.S., sold Lark to corporate customers from July 2022 to August 2023. In her sales conversations, prospective customers would ask Matima where Lark stored data that users posted on the platform. In trying to find out the answer, Matima said she spent significant time getting the “runaround” and never received a firm answer from TikTok and ByteDance management. “You could never really get any straight answers that could be solid enough to bring back to your client to basically let them know that this is a trustworthy platform, and that their American data is safe,” she recalls.

    2. while 1 do {}

      @cav Look up Eric Schmidt and the term CIA in your favourite search browser.

      Happy reading

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah

    It just needs a warning label, something like: "This App is a physiological war tool you are likely to stupid to understand but gullible enough to be suckered in by.

    Use with caution."

    They can put a similar warning on heroin and meth, I'm sure it will work there too,,, lol

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nah

      .. and facebook, twitter, fox news,.....

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Nah

        The boss of NPR ( formerly of wikipedia ) said recently that truth doesn't really matter.

        But yeah, complain about Fox...

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Nah

      But not for Facebook and Youtube (and pre-Musk Twitter) after they played along with the Democrat's various lies ( eg: the Hunter Biden laptop is "Russian disinformation" and "doesn't" contain evidence that Joe Biden is heavily involved in a pay-for-access scandal )?

      1. Cav Bronze badge

        Re: Nah

        You are totally disconnected from reality. Back away from FauxNews. It rots your brain.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah

        Hunter bidens laptop? Really?

        You must be trolling now.

        As for Russian sycophants, look no further than Madge Green (amongst the other right wing loons) who are continually praising Putin.

        Take your pick: https://www.google.com/search?q=Marjorie+Taylor+Greene+praises+putin

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Nah

          The Hunter Biden laptop story is true.

          "It’s a lawsuit to contain the troubles caused by Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop computer, the one he left at a Delaware repair shop but failed to pick up and pay for. When he dropped it off, he signed the shop’s standard agreement saying that, if he didn’t return and pay for the work, the shop would then own the computer and its contents.

          The computer repair shop owner examined the data on the laptop as a result, and this has caused a world of hurt for the Bidens. The repairman gave the computer to intermediaries who gave it to the New York Post, the only newspaper that was interested. Since then, the Biden family has been dealing with the consequences, mostly by denying the computer was really Hunter’s or the data from it was faked – claims which have been disproven by two different US media investigations. The idea that the data isn’t Hunter’s has also been contradicted by IRS whistleblower testimony. Nonetheless Team Biden has battled hard to suppress reporting of the data.

          This suppression wasn’t designed to help Hunter. It was designed to help his father win the 2000 election. That’s why father, son, and the team surrounding them denied everything about the computer, claimed it was all a Kremlin fabrication, and tried to prevent newspapers from reporting about it and social media from discussing it or even circulating the newspaper articles.

          These suppression efforts were largely successful when they counted, before Joe’s election for president. Now that Joe is running for a second term and the Republican House of Representatives is investigating him for alleged corruption, the laptop has become relevant again. And the Biden team has returned to the old playbook to limit the damage."

          ...

          "The suit is part of a pattern. Hunter’s team has already sued once for violating his “digital privacy” while still refusing to acknowledge the content was Hunter’s. That’s right: they claimed his rights were violated even if the content wasn’t his. You can’t make this stuff up. Actually, you can. That’s why there are so many lawyer jokes."

        2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: Nah

          Why are you talking about Madge Green, whoever that is? Bizarre.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nah

            What? You don't know Moscow Marj? Watch Russian TV channels! She's all over the place!!!

            She's also on Twitter where she calls Ukrainians "Nazis". Quite a character...

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Nah

              So what does that have to do with the lie that Hunter Biden's laptop was "Russian disinformation"?

              Biden's own complaint is that the repair shop owner didn't have the right to access the incriminating data on the laptop?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                QAnon update

                What about Hillary's email? Any "information" you want to share?

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: QAnon update

                  Why are you trying to muddy the waters?

            2. while 1 do {}

              Re: Nah

              Just out of interest, do you know where that Nazi quote came from?

              Have a read of these two articles:

              https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/1/who-are-the-azov-regiment

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Brigade

              On another note about the Nazi party (of WW2 fame) - something quite scary - recently they either had an AI program do it, or someone actually lip read and put what AH was saying in all of his rallies - it's quite scary that what he is saying in some cases is quite tame compared to what is said by some politicians nowadays - from what I've heard hardly any of it refers to the race of people for whom he is most remembered as being egregious against - it's all about supporting him, and making the country great etc - in my view Cruella has come out with worse

  4. JavaJester

    Look Here Damnit, No Foreign Influence from Foreign Social Media Apps

    We can't have our people bombarded with Chinese and Russian propaganda from a Chinese Social Media app. That's the job of US domestic social media apps and Republicans in Congress.

  5. Orv Silver badge

    TikTok really shot themselves in the foot with their heavy-handed lobbying campaign here. If the fear is that your product will be used to spy on and influence voters, hitting a bunch of users in key districts with notifications to call their representative doesn't help downplay that at all. Especially when some of the people calling were children.

    Still, I hope this doesn't pass, because I fear it would cause Democrats to permanently lose the votes of everyone currently under age 30.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      cause Democrats to permanently lose the votes of everyone currently under age 30

      Its a bipartisan bill, though I suppose there might be some backlash if Biden signed it given that Trump is now saying it shouldn't happen (a complete 180 on his former position that occurred a few hours after a visit to Trump's swamp palace by the US owner of 15% of Bytedance...I'm sure nothing shady happening there lol)

      The thing is though it doesn't take effect for a year, would be tied up in courts for longer, and in the end Bytedance would probably relent and find US buyers rather than have the US operations become valueless overnight. Still, you're right, its a bad look. But he'd be attacked if he vetoed it too so it may be a lose/lose. People have a short attention span, and when Tik Tok keeps running they'll forget about it by the fall.

      The Israel war is a much bigger risk for him with the youth vote. I hope he puts conditions on the US aid that at minimum require them to stand down from attacking the only place left in Palestine that isn't bombed to rubble and if not a permanent cease fire one long enough to really make a difference. I'm sure republicans would scream bloody murder at that, but once the Ukraine aid is passed I think he will be in a position to take a harder line on Israel's war. In a position to doesn't mean he will though, I think he is too infected with the weird mainstream US view that Israel can do no wrong no matter how much wrong they do.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        If Biden signs it, it won't matter who proposed it. There are voters who blame Biden for abortion restrictions just because he was President when they happened "and he didn't stop it." Most people have no idea how government works and think the President is basically a king.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        a visit to Trump's swamp palace by the US owner of 15% of Bytedance

        Jeff Yass, said "owner of 15%", is also the single largest personal contributor to Republican campaigns, and his firm, Susquehanna International Group, was instrumental in getting ByteDance off the ground.

        Given how much influence Yass has over Republican politicians ($46M worth, at last count), my expectation is that this bill is just signalling and either will be killed before it becomes law, or the law will be struck down by the courts, to the noisy dismay of its Republican "supporters".

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          It will be tied up in court for years, and if it was allowed to go forward they'd keep the full year intact to insure there was time for a sale. I imagine during that time Yass would grease enough palms on both sides of the aisle that some unrelated "must pass" bill like yearly defense authorization would gain an amendment attached that repealed it. Given the way congress works the last 10-15 years they'd be up against a deadline so no one would hold up its momentum trying to strip that amendment.

      3. while 1 do {}

        Israel are already hitting Rafah - the West just aren't publicising it as it doesn't fit the narrative.

        It's great to have powerful friends

    2. while 1 do {}

      They're damned if they do and damned if they don't

      The lay of the land can be seen with how Huawei have been treated - anything Chinese will be guilty

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    How is it going to work logistically if Tiktok decide to sell off only its US operation and keep the ROW China owned? Are they going to have two apps call Tiktok that aren't interoperable with each other? Will it still work if you used a VPN to a country outside of the US? What about when visitors from the US go abroad or when none citizens from other countries visit the US, Will their apps stop working?

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      I'm curious what will happen to the UK version - I use TikTok and I enjoy quite a lot of American content.

      I assume Bytedance will demand exclusivity so the US version only works in the US.

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