A bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced bills in the US Senate and House to ban TikTok.
TikTok has been under fire repeatedly for its privacy practices, as well as concerns regarding Beijing’s influence and TikTok’s handling of US user data. Senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi have introduced legislation that would ban TikTok over such concerns.
“The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok,” said Senator Rubio. “This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day. We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections. We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news,” said Representative Gallagher. “It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party – America’s foremost adversary. Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up the New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”
“At a time when the Chinese Communist Party and our other adversaries abroad are seeking any advantage they can find against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance, it is imperative that we do not allow hostile powers to potentially control social media networks that could be easily weaponized against us,” said Representative Krishnamoorthi. “The bipartisan ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act is a strong step in protecting our nation from the nefarious digital surveillance and influence operations of totalitarian regimes. Recent revelations surrounding the depth of TikTok’s ties to the CCP highlight the urgency of protecting Americans from these risks before it’s too late.”
Pressure has been mounting against TikTok, especially in the wake of revelations that the company misled Congress regarding how US data is handled. The company’s executives had testified that US data was handled by a US team when, in fact, the data was often forwarded to China and handled there. In subsequent testimony, following the revelation, execs refused to commit to keeping US data out of China. The company has also been accused of planning to surveil specific Americans.
Calls for a ban on TikTok have been increasing, with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr being particularly vocal in his belief that action should be taken against the Chinese firm. In the meantime, states have begun taking matters into their own hands, banning the app and website from state-owned and operated devices.