A bill that would force China’s ByteDance to divest ownership of the popular app has been passed by the House of Representatives © Getty Images / Celal Gunes; Anadolu

TikTok is reportedly planning to legally challenge the US government if it passes a law that would require the app’s Chinese parent company to divest its ownership or face a complete ban of the platform, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Over the weekend, the US House of Representatives tied the bill that could see TikTok banned to an emergency bill providing aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The legislation ultimately passed by a vote of 360 to 58. If approved by the Senate, the app’s Chinese owner ByteDance would have nine months to sell its business or have it barred from US app stores.

“This is an unprecedented deal worked out between the Republican speaker and President Biden,” Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, told the company’s US staff in a memo seen by Bloomberg.

“At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge,” he reportedly wrote.

Beckerman had previously insisted that the divest-or-ban demands on TikTok were a violation of the First Amendment rights of the app’s 170 million users in the US and that such legislation, if passed, would have “devastating consequences” for the nearly 7 million businesses using the platform.

“This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,” the executive said in Saturday’s memo, vowing to “continue to fight.”

China has also blasted the efforts to ban TikTok in the US, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin arguing that such a step would violate international trade rules.

“[The bill] runs contrary to the principles of fair competition and international economic and trade rules,” Wang said last month, accusing the US of “bullying behavior” and of “leveraging state power” against ByteDance.

Beijing slams proposed US TikTok ban as ‘bandit logic’ Beijing slams proposed US TikTok ban as ‘bandit logic’

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Beijing slams proposed US TikTok ban as ‘bandit logic’

“When someone sees a good thing another person has and tries to take it for themselves, this is entirely the logic of a bandit,” he said.

A number of American lawmakers have insisted for years that TikTok poses a “national security threat” due to its Chinese ownership, and have insisted on forcing it to sever ties with its parent company ByteDance.

However, some in the US Congress have opposed the legislation targeting the Chinese app, with Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky arguing that the “cure” presented in the bill is “worse than the disease,” as it would give the White House the power to ban other websites and apps.

Billionaire and owner of X (formerly Twitter) Elon Musk has warned that the bill is “about censorship and government control,” while the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has denounced the legislation as “violating the free speech rights of millions of Americans” who use the platform daily. (RT)