Sen. Marco Rubio introduces legislation to ban TikTok in America
WASHINGTON D.C. - Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio announced bipartisan legislation that would ban the app TikTok in the U.S.
According to a news release from Rubio's office, the bill would block and prohibit transactions from "any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern." TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's dubbed the Anti-Social CCP Act. The bill's language only refers to TikTok as an example.
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This bill comes as some states began barring employees from using the app on government-issued devices. This week, Alabama and Utah joined Texas, Maryland, and South Dakota in prohibiting downloading the app on those devices. Lawmakers argue that the app can be used to monitor the private activity of its users and content.
Meanwhile, TikTok claims its user data is safely stored outside of China.
JAPAN - 2022/12/14: In this photo illustration, a TikTok App Logo is displayed on a mobile phone. (Photo Illustration by Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
"Look, I’m no TikTok user, but the evidence speaks for itself, and I want to make sure I’m doing everything we can as a state to stand against this growing security risk," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Monday.
In early December, FBI Director Chris Wray said the Chinese government could use TikTok "for influence operations."
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"We, the FBI, do have national security concerns about the app. Its parent company is controlled by the Chinese government. And it gives them the potential to leverage the app in ways that I think should concern us," he said. "So what do I mean by that? One, it gives them the ability to control the recommendation algorithm. They also have the ability to collect data through it on users which can be used for traditional espionage operations, for example. They also have the ability on it to get access, they have, essentially, access to the software to devices."
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 07: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at a rally at the Cheyenne Saloon on November 7, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Rubio faces in his reelection bid Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) in tomorrow's general election. (Photo
According to Reuters, TikTok has been in contact with the U.S. government's Committee on Foreign Investment to reach an agreement to protect its users' data.
A TikTok spokesperson sent the following statement to USA Today in regards to the Anti-Social CCP Act:
"TikTok is loved by millions of Americans who use the platform to learn, grow their businesses, and connect with creative content that brings them joy. We will continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that have been developed under the oversight of our country's top national security agencies – plans that we are well underway in implementing – to further secure our platform in the United States."