Lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives that would ban the social-media app TikTok.
- Tuesday afternoon, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced legislation in the Senate that would ban TikTok—a popular short-form, video-sharing app.
- Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher and Illinois Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi introduced companion legislation in the House.
- Other representatives, including Ohio’s Jim Jordan, had previously expressed interest in banning the app on government devices.
- The House bill says its purpose is “To protect Americans from the threat posed by certain foreign adversaries using current or potential future social media companies that those foreign adversaries control to surveil Americans, learn sensitive data about Americans, or spread influence campaigns, propaganda, and censorship.”
- Calls to ban the app have increased in the past year as more information has become available showing that TikTok can be considered a national security risk.
WHY IT’S NEWS
Seven states have banned TikTok on state government devices in recent months, but this legislation is the first similar move from the federal government.
Sen. Rubio announced the legislation Tuesday in a press release saying, “TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, is required by Chinese law to make the app’s data available to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). From the FBI Director to FCC Commissioners to cybersecurity experts, everyone has made clear the risk of TikTok being used to spy on Americans.”
Calls to ban the app have increased since reports have shown that the app collects users’ data and that employees of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance have close ties to the Chinese government.
Government officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr, have warned about the security risks of the app.
A nationwide TikTok ban would be unprecedented in the U.S., though other countries have already taken this step.
“The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok. 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,” Sen. Rubio says.
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. 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.” Rep. Gallagher says.
“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. 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.” Rep. Krishnamoorthi says.