Two and a half years after former President Donald Trump warned of the dangers of the social media application TikTok and tried to ban it, a growing number of states have initiated legislation to ban or restrict its use.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is required by Chinese law to share all data and information with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has raised serious concerns about the protection of personal and sensitive data, as well as imposing a risk of foreign adversaries using the app to spread propaganda.
In addition to those concerns, TikTok has proven to be a highly addictive product according to industry studies.
— POLARIS (@polarisnatsec) December 6, 2022
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation on Tuesday that would ban the application from operating within the United States due to national security concerns. He is joined by two House Representatives, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), who are both introducing similar legislation.
Rubio’s office released a statement saying:
“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.”
The bill, Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship, and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (or the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act) would block any social media company that poses a threat to the U.S. from operating within the country if the bill is passed by Congress.
The bill states that 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.”
The push to restrict or ban the application is quickly gaining traction, with seven states banning the application from state-issued devices in the last two weeks.
Alabama, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Texas were among the states banning its use, with the state of Nebraska banning it in 2020 and the state of Indiana announcing two lawsuits against TikTok last week.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted on Tuesday that he will be going to the Senate floor to try to pass a ban on the application for state-issued devices, adding that it’s time for the federal government to act on the issue.
Time for the federal government to act. Democrats won’t, so I will. This week I will go to the Senate floor to try pass a federal ban on TikTok on all government devices https://t.co/X6DOnT5hgI
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 13, 2022