One social media expert says potential U.S. legislation on the immensely popular app TikTok could have significant economic implications. 

This week TikTok faces the possibility of a U.S. nationwide ban or divestment from the app’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance Ltd. The legislation would block app stores and internet service providers from offering the platform unless TikTok’s parent company sells it within a six-month period. 

“It strikes me that the technology and the issue has not changed over the past four years. What keeps changing is the politics,” Jim Anderson, CEO of AI software company Beacon and social media expert, said in a television interview with BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. 

Due to data security and concerns about foreign influence, the Republican-controlled House will vote on a bill that will require TikTok to either be divested from ByteDance or for the app to face a nationwide ban. 

“There’s definitely bipartisan interest in this ban, and I think there’s a legitimate reason for concern over Chinese influence,” Anderson told BNN Bloomberg. “Whether it will pass, I guess we’re going to have to see.”

Anderson pointed to the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s indecisiveness over the incoming bill decision. During Trump’s tenure as president, he flirted with the idea of banning the social media app but recently said he is against the most recent bill in fears of giving more business to Meta. 

In Canada, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan became the latest provinces this month to join Canadian jurisdictions banning the use of TikTok on government-owned devices, due to potential security threats being assessed by the federal government. 

Similarly, in the U.S., Anderson said this bill is more complicated than general legislation, with impacts that precede social media access. 

“One could talk about all kinds of legislative theory about what’s possible, but fundamentally this is a geopolitical issue between the U.S. and China,” he told BNN Bloomberg. 

“It’s got tremendous economic impacts. It ties into AI (artificial intelligence) and the future of where we’re heading with technology. This is a multi-trillion dollar issue,” he said, referring to lobbyists who are prepared to voice their concerns. 

“Everybody is bringing their A-game to this battle, and we’re going to see it unfold in real time this week.”

To watch the rest of Anderson’s interview with BNN Bloomberg, watch the video above.

 With files from Bloomberg News.