Republican Senator of the US Marco Rubio announced bipartisan legislation on Tuesday to ban China’s popular social media app TikTok, putting more pressure on the app’s owner, ByteDance Ltd, amid concerns that the app could be used to spy on Americans and censor content.
The legislation would bar all transactions from any social media company based in or influenced by China or Russia, according to Rubio’s office, which added that a companion bill in the United States House of Representatives was sponsored by Republican congressman Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.
“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 comes as the Trump administration’s failed attempt to ban TikTok has increased scrutiny in Washington in recent weeks.
During a hearing last month, FBI Director Chris Wray stated that TikTok’s operations in the United States raise national security concerns, citing the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to influence users or control their devices.
Due to national security concerns, Alabama and Utah joined other states in prohibiting the use of TikTok on state government devices and computer networks on Monday.
In 2020, then-President Donald Trump attempted to prevent new users from downloading TikTok and to prohibit other transactions that would have effectively blocked the apps’ use in the United States, but the measure was defeated in a series of court battles.
Because of concerns that U.S. user data could be passed on to China’s communist government, the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a powerful national security body, ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok in 2020.
For months, CFIUS and TikTok have been negotiating a national security agreement to protect the data of TikTok’s more than 100 million users.
(Adapted from BusinessToday.in)