A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday to ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing app “TikTok” from operating in the United States amid increasing concerns about the app spying on Americans.
The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, proposed by Senator Marco Rubio, would block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia. Republican congressman Mike Gallagher and Democrat lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi are the bill’s co-sponsors.
Senator Marco Rubio said, “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.”
Rubio added, “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.”
Representative Gallagher said, “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 (CCP)—America’s foremost adversary.”
The latest bill comes as scrutiny of TikTok has grown in Washington due to its close ties to the CCP.
The CCP’s laws categorize data as a national resource and order companies to hand over all data to it upon request.
According to the Epoch Times, security experts said the CCP could weaponize this app for this reason and collect an immense amount of American data.
In a congressional hearing, FBI Director Chris Wray warned last month that the CCP “could use it to control data collection on millions of users. Or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices which give it opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices.”
TikTok has earlier claimed that it did not share data with Beijing. However, the company later admitted that employees in China could access users’ data in the U.S.
Texas and other U.S. states ban the use of TikTok on state government devices and computer networks citing national security concerns.
President Donald Trump in 2020 tried to eliminate the CCP-controlled app, forcing it to be sold to an American firm. However, his effort failed because of losing court battles.