Rep. Ritchie Torres Celebrates the House Passage of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act

Mar 13, 2024
In the News

Rep. Torres, who sits on the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the CCP, has long been a vocal advocate for this bill

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) celebrates the House passage of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. Rep. Torres co-led this bill with a bipartisan group of 19 other members of the House. It requires ByteDance, a People’s Republic of China-based entity, to divest from TikTok within 6 months after enactment.  If ByteDance does not divest, TikTok will be prohibited in the U.S. from app stores and web hosting services, unless the application is no longer controlled by a People’s Republic of China-based entity.

“Today’s passage of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act is a historic step in safeguarding our nation’s security and protecting Americans from malicious foreign influence,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “This bipartisan effort demonstrates our unwavering commitment to defending our democracy and preserving our digital freedom. I commend my colleagues for their steadfast dedication to American national security and I urge the Senate to swiftly pass this important legislation so that President Biden can sign it into law.”

Applications like TikTok that are controlled by foreign adversaries pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security. Such apps allow our adversaries to surveil and influence the American public, both through the data we produce and the information we share and consume.

On March 7, 2024, Rep. Torres joined a group of members co-leading this bill for a press conference and gave the following remarks:

“TikTok has become a national security risk that we can no longer afford to ignore. TikTok is not merely a social media platform. It is the leading news source for the next generation. And the fact that we are putting the leading news source for the most impressionable minds in our society in the hands of our leading foreign adversary is an act of self-sabotage.”

This legislation addresses the threat in two ways. First, it prevents app store availability or web hosting services in the U.S. for ByteDance-controlled applications, including TikTok, unless the application severs ties to entities like ByteDance that are subject to the control of a foreign adversary, as defined by Congress in Title 10. The bill provides ByteDance with a window of time to divest, and the bill’s prohibitions do not apply if it completes a qualified divestment. It also creates a process for the President to designate certain, specifically defined social media applications that are subject to the control of a foreign adversary—per Title 10—and pose a national security risk. Designated applications will face a prohibition on app store availability and web hosting services in the U.S. unless they sever ties to entities subject to the control of a foreign adversary through divestment. This bill addresses the immediate national security risks posed by TikTok and creates a process for the President to protect Americans’ national security and privacy from foreign adversary-controlled applications in the future.

Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.

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