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Bill pushed could ban TikTok in the U.S.

Correspondent: Jarred Hill

(CBS) - Congress is one step closer to offering TikTok a life-changing choice.

On Thursday, Republicans, and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously pushed along a bill that would give Tiktok 180 days to either sever ties with its China-based owner, Bytedance, or be banned from U.S. app stores.

"The laws in China allow the Chinese communist party to compel companies like TikTok to share data with them, whether the company wants to or not," stated Rep. Frank Pallone (D- New Jersey), ranking member.

"The basic ownership structure has to change. That's the message we've heard from every single national security official in the Biden administration right now," stated Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin)

Thursday, TikTok had a message of its own.

Mobilizing some of its nearly 170 million users to call their members of Congress to object to the legislation.

A TikTok spokesman told CBS News only users over 18 were asked to call.

"You have to put in your zip code and they tell you what congressman to call. Imagine wants to use it more nefariously. When they want to truly engage in psychological warfare against the American people," said Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).

TikTok has said user data is safe and argues the bill would "trample" the First Amendment rights of American users.

Legal analysts say that's not quite clear.

"The government is not required to say that when it comes to all of these different private companies and platforms that they have to be allowed to operate," said Jessica Levinson, CBS News Legal Contributor. "The First Amendment is not absolute."

As the Biden campaign builds out its TikTok presence, the Biden White House signals it's behind the new bill.

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