A bill that would force the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owners or face a ban in the U.S. has been passed by the House of Representatives and will now head to the Senate.

TikTok's Biggest Challenge: The bill as it stands now, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, would give TikTok's parent company ByteDance five months to sell TikTok or have it removed from app stores across all formats, affecting around 150 million U.S. users.

There were 352 "yays" in favor of passing the bill, well in excess of the two-thirds majority (290 votes) needed to move the bill to the Senate.

If it comes to a ban, the government would likely have to order app stores operated by the likes of Apple Inc (AAPL  ) and Alphabet Inc (GOOG  ) (GOOGL  )'s Google to remove TikTok from their platforms.

Those who already have the app on their cellphones would still be able to use it - although they would no longer be able to receive updates, which would give the app a limited lifespan.

In its defense, ByteDance has said U.S. data is not shared with the Chinese government. It claims that its "Project Texas," a $1.5-billion initiative by TikTok, provided a security wall that protects U.S. data.

This, however, was found in a January Wall Street Journal investigation to have limitations.

Nevertheless, TikTok has said that it would appeal the bill, if passed, before it would consider any kind of divestiture from ByteDance, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter.

TikTok Caught In 'Cold War'? The vote was hotly contested. Senior Republicans argued that TikTok, owned by Chinese internet technology group ByteDance, represents a threat to national security, while opposition from many Democrats suggested the greater risk was to free speech.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of the bill's co-sponsors, said the bill should be supported in light of a "Cold War" between the U.S. and China.

"We should fight them here and stop apologising for the Chinese Communists," he said.

Defending TikTok, U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) said a ban would cause huge harm to the economy.

He said: "We have small business owners from across the country that use TikTok to move our economy forward. Some of these creators in these businesses solely depend on TikTok for their revenue and their job."

He also noted that singling out TikTok was unfair given that there is disinformation on all social media websites.

Not all arguments for, or against, the ban were along party lines. U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said that getting rid of TikTok would only empower rival social media sites such as Meta Platform (META  )'s Facebook.

He said: "It might as well be called the Facebook Protection and Enhancement Act."