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Lawmakers unveil bipartisan bill to censor (ban) China’s TikTok social media app in the United States.

TikTok logo

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. Today U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok from operating in the United States.

The Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act) would protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern. U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Rubio announced:

“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.”

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 – 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.”

Representative Krishnamoorthi said:

“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.”

With Congress in session for only a few more days this year, the bill is unlikely to be considered in either chamber.

In June, BuzzFeed News reported that employees of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, had accessed data about U.S. users. TikTok denied turning over any U.S. data to Chinese officials and said it never would, though it acknowledged that Chinese employees have access to it giving them a roundabout path for turning over the data.

The Republican-run states of Utah, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, and South Dakota have banned TikTok from public devices. Nebraska blocked TikTok on government electronics in August 2020. Indiana sued TikTok claiming the app exposes children to harmful content.

You can read the bill in full below.

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TikTok logo via TikTok with usage type - Fair use with modification

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TikTok logo via TikTok with usage type - Fair use with modification

 

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