TikTok ban bill passes in the House: Here’s what happens next

TikTok could be banned in the U.S. under a bill that passed the House on Wednesday, but the legislation still has a long way to go in the Senate.

Wednesday’s 352-to-65 vote in the House came as lawmakers from both parties acted on concerns that the company's Chinese ownership structure is a threat to national security.

"Millions of Americans are addicted to it. They see it and the Chinese can absolutely manipulate those algorithms. The First Amendment does not give the Chinese the right to American data or to manipulate the minds of Americans," Rep. Dan Crensaw (R-Texas) said before the vote, arguing in favor of passing the bill.

Alex Haurek, a TikTok spokesperson, said in a statement after the vote that the bill was jammed through as part of a secretive process.

"We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents, and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service," Haurek said.

Here’s what to know about the bill that could ban TikTok:

Why does Congress want to ban TikTok? 

The legislation that passed the House on Wednesday would require the Chinese firm ByteDance to divest TikTok and other applications it owns within six months of the bill’s enactment or those apps would be prohibited. 

The lawmakers assert that ByteDance is beholden to the Chinese government, which could demand access to the data of TikTok's consumers in the U.S. any time it wants. The worry stems from a set of Chinese national security laws that compel organizations to assist with intelligence gathering.

"TikTok is owned by ByteDance. ByteDance is in China and when you're in China, you have to do whatever the Chinese Communist Party tells you what to do," Rep. Crenshaw argued. "If they want you to spy for them, you will spy for them; that's how that works."

"We're sitting here with phones made in China. We're wearing suits made in China. We drove cars here with chips that are made in China. They're our foreign adversary and by golly we're going to do something about it," Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) said mockingly, opposing the bill. "What are we going to do? We're going to tell Americans they can't put a piece of software on their computer or can't go to certain websites."

The video-sharing app, with about 170 million users in the U.S., has also emerged as a significant issue in the 2024 presidential campaign. 

Biden's 2024 campaign officially joined TikTok last month despite previously expressing national security concerns over the platform. 

Biden in 2022 banned the use of TikTok by the federal government’s nearly 4 million employees on devices owned by its agencies, with limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes.

TikTok ban bill: What happens next?

FILE - In this photo illustration, a boy looks at the TikTok app on a smartphone screen. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

FILE - In this photo illustration, a boy looks at the TikTok app on a smartphone screen. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

House passage of the bill is only the first step. 

The Senate now also needs to pass the measure for it to become law, and lawmakers in that chamber indicated it would undergo a thorough review. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he'll have to consult with relevant committee chairs to determine the bill's path.

President Joe Biden has said if Congress passes the measure, he will sign it.

Since its introduction last week, Republican leaders have moved quickly to bring up the bill. A House committee approved the legislation unanimously, even after their offices were inundated with calls from TikTok users demanding they drop the effort. Some offices even shut off their phones because of the onslaught.

Lawmakers in both parties are anxious to confront China on a range of issues. The House formed a special committee to focus on China-related issues. And Schumer directed committee chairs to begin working with Republicans on a bipartisan China competition bill.

Senators are expressing an openness to the bill but suggested they don’t want to rush ahead.

"It is not for me a redeeming quality that you’re moving very fast in technology because the history shows you make a lot of mistakes," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

RELATED: Potential U.S. TikTok ban has content creators concerned

In pushing ahead with the legislation, House Republicans are also creating rare daylight between themselves and former President Donald Trump as he seeks another term in the White House.

Trump has voiced opposition to the effort. He said Monday that he still believes TikTok poses a national security risk but is opposed to banning the hugely popular app because doing so would help its rival, Facebook, which he continues to lambast over his 2020 election loss.

Didn’t Trump already try to ban TikTok? 

As president, Trump attempted to ban TikTok through an executive order that called "the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China)" a threat to "the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States." 

The courts, however, blocked the action after TikTok sued, arguing such actions would violate free speech and due process rights.

Feud between US lawmakers, tech industry

The House vote opens a new front in the long-running feud between lawmakers and the tech industry. 

Members of Congress have long been critical of tech platforms and their expansive influence, often clashing with executives over industry practices. But by targeting TikTok, lawmakers are singling out a platform popular with millions of people, many of whom skew younger, just months before an election.

Ahead of the House vote, a top national security official in the Biden administration held a closed-door briefing Tuesday with lawmakers to discuss TikTok and the national security implications. Lawmakers are balancing those security concerns against a desire not to limit free speech online.

"What we've tried to do here is be very thoughtful and deliberate about the need to force a divestiture of TikTok without granting any authority to the executive branch to regulate content or go after any American company," said Rep. Mike Gallagher, the bill's author, as he emerged from the briefing.

TikTok has long denied that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government. The company has said it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it is asked. 

To date, the U.S. government also has not provided any evidence that shows TikTok shared such information with Chinese authorities. 

The security briefing seemed to change few minds, instead solidifying the views of both sides.

"We have a national security obligation to prevent America's most strategic adversary from being so involved in our lives," said Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y.

But Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., said no information has been shared with him that convinces him TikTok is a national security threat. "My opinion, leaving that briefing, has not changed at all," he said.

"This idea that we're going to ban, essentially, entrepreneurs, small business owners, the main way how young people actually communicate with each other is to me insane," Garcia said.

"Not a single thing that we heard in today's classified briefing was unique to TikTok. It was things that happen on every single social media platform," said Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.