US Lawmakers Introduce a Bipartisan Bill to Outlaw China’s TikTok

In response to American concerns that the popular social media app TikTok might be used to snoop on citizens and restrict material, Republican Senator Marco Rubio unveiled bipartisan legislation to outlaw it on Tuesday. This increased pressure on ByteDance Ltd, the app’s owner.

A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives was sponsored by Republican congressman Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, according to a news release from Rubio’s office. The legislation would ban all transactions from social media companies based in or influence by China and Russia.

“It is troubling that rather than encouraging the administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company would continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that are “well underway” to “further secure our platform in the United States.”

The bill was introduced as TikTok has recently been under increased scrutiny in Washington following the Trump administration’s failed attempt to outlaw the video-sharing app.

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TikTok’s U.S. operations create national security issues, according to FBI Director Chris Wray, who raised the issue at a hearing last month. He noted the possibility that the Chinese government may use it to influence users or take control of their devices.

Due to worries about national security, Alabama and Utah joined other U.S. states on Monday in banning the use of TikTok on equipment and computer networks used by state governments.

US Lawmakers Introduce a Bipartisan Bill to Outlaw China's TikTok
US Lawmakers Introduce a Bipartisan Bill to Outlaw China’s TikTok

Donald Trump, president at the time, tried to stop new users from downloading TikTok in 2020 and to outlaw other transactions that would have virtually eliminated the usage of the applications in the United States. Still, he was unable to do so after losing several legal challenges.

Due to concerns that U.S. user data would be transferred to China’s communist government, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a significant national security body of the U.S. government, ordered ByteDance to divest from TikTok in 2020.

To secure the data of TikTok’s more than 100 million users, CFIUS and TikTok have been in negotiations for months.

U.S. Lawmakers Introduce a Bipartisan Bill to Outlaw China’s TikTok

TikTok is a popular social media app in China, and on Tuesday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio announced bipartisan legislation to ban the app. This comes as pressure mounts on TikTok’s owner, ByteDance Ltd, due to concerns in the United States that the app could be used to spy on its users and censor its content.

According to a press statement from Rubio’s office, the bill would prevent financial transactions with social media companies based in China or Russia. The bill has a House counterpart sponsored by Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.

As a result of the Trump administration’s failed attempt to prohibit the video-sharing app, the bill is being introduced at a time when TikTok is under more scrutiny in Washington.

TikTok’s U.S. activities, according to FBI Director Chris Wray’s testimony at a hearing earlier this month, increase national security concerns by making it more likely that the Chinese government may use the app to influence users or track their devices.

Monday saw the addition of Alabama and Utah to the list of U.S. states that have banned TikTok from state-owned devices and networks because it poses a security risk.

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Concerned that user data from the United States could be passed on to the communist government of China, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in 2020 ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok.

To ensure the safety of TikTok’s over 100 million users’ information, CFIUS and the company have been negotiating a national security deal for months.

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