A bill to ban the use of TikTok on government devices was approved in the Senate on Wednesday amid concerns that data obtained by the popular social media app could end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Ban TikTok on Government Devices Act, sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), would prohibit individuals from downloading or using TikTok on phones, tablets and computers issued by the US government or government corporations.
The bill passed after no senators opposed the measure. It still has to pass the House before going to President Biden’s desk.
“TikTok is a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It poses a major security risk to the United States and has no place in the government apparatus until it is forced to cut ties with China completely,” Hawley said in a statement. “States across the US are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time to do the same for Joe Biden and the Democrats.”
At least five states — Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas — have banned government agencies from using TikTok over security concerns.
New York lawmakers introduced a bill this week that would ban public employees and contractors from downloading the app to government-issued electronics.
At the federal level, another anti-TikTok bill was introduced in Congress this week, which would seek to ban the social media platform from the US entirely.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) on Preventing the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) introduced the law. on Tuesday .
Rubio and Gallagher’s bill would ban “all transactions by any social media company in or under the influence of China, Russia and a number of other foreign countries of concern, including Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.”
Rubio said TikTok’s parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance LTD, is required by Chinese law to disclose its data to the Chinese Communist Party.
“It’s not about creative videos — it’s about an app that collects data about tens of millions of American children and adults every day,” Rubio said in the statement. “We know it is used to manipulate channels and influence elections. We know that it will answer the People’s Republic of China.”
TikTok says it has never shared US user data with CCP and would not even if asked.
TikTok representative said According to The Wall Street Journal, Hawley’s legislation “does nothing to advance the national security interests of the United States.” Hopefully, rather than continuing down this path, he will push the administration to reach a deal that addresses his concerns.