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  • Kyle Chua

American Lawmakers Intend To Ban TikTok in US Over Security Concerns

The widening influence of TikTok has apparently caught the attention of some American lawmakers, who now look to ban the short-form video platform in the U.S. over its ties to China and possible security concerns.

Credit: Reuters

A new bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that could move to block access to TikTok or any other apps that send user data to oppressive governments, censor news or try to "indoctrinate" the public, as Ars Technica reports.


The bill – formally called the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act (Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party) – wants to halt transactions by social media companies that are controlled by so-called “countries of concern," which include China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.


TikTok is specifically labelled as a national threat to the U.S. in the bill due to it being owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance.


"The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok," said Senator Marco Rubio, who together with Congressman Mike Gallagher and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi introduced the bill. "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."


TikTok has already taken steps to gain the trust of the American government and distance itself from operations in China, such as migrating U.S. user data domestically and beefing up its security. It would also allow American database giant Oracle to audit the algorithm that makes content recommendations on the platform.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (left) & Congressman Mike Gallagher (right). Credit: Reuters & Getty Images

Still, these efforts were probably not enough for some lawmakers, who argue that the social media juggernaut remains linked to Beijing. Rubio and Gallagher, for instance, pointed to the LinkedIn profiles of some ByteDance employees that connected them to propaganda outlets backed by the Chinese government.


"It is troubling that rather than encouraging the [Biden] 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,” said TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter.


Oberwetter added that TikTok plans to continue to work with lawmakers in the hope of convincing them that its operations in the U.S. aren't a security concern.


Congress is still weighing the bill, and at this point, it's not certain yet whether it'll become law or not. President Biden upon taking office revoked then-President Trump's executive order to ban downloads of TikTok, signing a new order requiring a security review instead. The move suggests that Biden is open to the idea of working with TikTok, which could perhaps give it another chance at staying in the U.S. in case the bill does pass deliberations in the House.

 
  • A new bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that could move to block access to TikTok in the country.

  • The bill wants to halt transactions by social media companies that are controlled by so-called “countries of concern," which include China and Russia, among others.

  • TikTok is specifically labelled as a national threat to the U.S. in the bill due to it being owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance.

  • The social media juggernaut said the call for its ban in the U.S. is "politically motivated".

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