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How do U.S. decisions about TikTok impact Canada?


U.S. President Joe Biden has signed a bill that will force TikTok to be sold or be banned in his country, but what does it mean for Canada?

Speaking with CTV News London, tech expert Carmi Levi said it's an ecosystem that doesn't stop at the border because millions of Canadians with audiences in the U.S. use TikTok.

"We look at TikTok as this lighthearted app where people dance and share videos that really don't have much consequence, but in reality, it is the centre of a very significant ecosystem. When you correlate the numbers to Canada, it's billions of dollars and tens of thousands of Canadians who have built their careers and their businesses on this app...on both sides of the border," said Levi.

Even though this law will not directly impact Canadians, Levi added if it compromises TikTok in the U.S., it's going to spill over the border and have a significant impact on a lot of Canadians who depend on this for their livelihood.

As frightening as the headlines may seem, that it's going to shut down, Levi said we're still nowhere near there.

"We've gotten a little bit closer because of the Senate decision and the vote, and it moves one step closer, but there are a lot of obstacles ahead of the company before it gets to that. So the possibility of this coming true, of an app becoming dark in an entire country, it really is unprecedented and we likely will not see it get to that point. I suspect saner heads will prevail between now and then and we will see some kind of compromise that allows TikTok to continue to operate, and allows the U.S. government to essential save face and say 'We've done what we can to protect Americans from foreign entities spying on them through their phone,'" said Levi.

Speaking in Oakville on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wouldn't comment on the ban, but said his own government will continue to look out for Canadians' security.

The federal Liberals ordered a national security review of TikTok last September, and the app has been banned from federal government devices.

The bill passed in the U.S. Senate would force TikTok's parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, to sell the social-media app within the year or face an American ban.  

— With files from CTV News London's Reta Ismail and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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