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TikTok's forced sale from China will be 'most significant' national security step, says FCC commissioner

In light of the Senate passing a forced sale of Chinese-owned TikTok, one senior Republican and FCC commissioner explains how the legislation is "so smart" and "very targeted."

Late Tuesday night, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of and passed the sell-or-ban TikTok bill, and a senior Republican divulged what will happen next for lawmakers and the Chinese-owned social platform.

"It will really be one of the most significant national security steps that the 118th Congress has taken," FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast," Tuesday.

"As soon as this bill passes the Senate," he added, "that starts a 270-day clock for TikTok to divest. When that happens, the whole technology company, including the algorithm, will be subject to a multi-agency review to make sure whoever ends up owning it isn't able to use the algorithm or any other component of it, to be controlled by a foreign adversary."

The clock started ticking just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night as the Senate passed a bill to force TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform or face a ban in the U.S., as lawmakers accuse the platform of collecting user data and spreading propaganda.

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The TikTok legislation was part of a larger $95 billion package to provide foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan that passed the Upper Chamber by a 79 to 18 vote. The package now heads to President Biden, who said he plans to sign it Wednesday.

ByteDance reportedly has nine months to sell TikTok and is permitted a three-month extension if a sale is in progress. This bill also prohibits the parent company from managing or manipulating the app’s content feed algorithm.

"I think the concerns raised here are really good ones, which is, we want to be careful not to allow something like this to be weaponized against other U.S. businesses," Carr reacted. "And that's why the approach [Congress] has taken is so smart, because it's very targeted on TikTok and any other application that is truly beholden to a foreign adversary."

Evidence of TikTok’s alleged malign intent, according to Carr, includes surveillance and foreign influence practices.

Lawmakers and administration officials have expressed concerns for years that Chinese officials could force ByteDance to provide U.S. user data and influence Americans by promoting certain content on the platform.

"A blockbuster report came out and showed... Everything is seen in China. Then they surveilled the locations of specific Americans, journalists that were writing negative stories. They promised to do better and wall off U.S. data. They failed," the commissioner said.

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"And just last week," Carr expanded, "a new report came out that a former senior data scientist for TikTok said his job was to deliver U.S. data to China."

China has previously said it would oppose a forced sale of TikTok, and has signaled it would oppose the latest legislation. TikTok has alleged the bill violates First Amendment rights, and told Reuters on Sunday that it would "trample" free speech.

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FOX Business’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.

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