A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of Chinese-based owner Byte Dance’s TikTok social media platform in the U.S.
The Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship, and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act, also referred to as the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, would protect Americans from using social media companies based in China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. Specifically, the bill would block and prohibit all transactions from those ventures.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), citing the FBI’s and FCC’s latest concerns about the social media platforms used to spy on Americans.
“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,” Rubio said in a statement, adding “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.”
The legislation comes as Washington has had a rocky relationship with TikTok over the past year with the then-Trump administration’s failed attempt to implement a ban on the social media platform in 2020.
TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the United States and is owned by the Chinese-based country ByteDance, has become popular among younger Americans.
A slew of GOP-led states such as South Dakota, Maryland, Texas and Utah has implemented measures to prohibit the use of TikTok within their state’s government branches and on state government-issued devices, citing their concerns with security on the social media platform.
“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) said in a statement on Monday. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems.”
In a statement to The Hill, TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown said the platform is disappointed with the number of states that enacted policies based on unfounded, politically charged falsehoods about their company.
“It is unfortunate that the many state agencies, offices, and universities on TikTok in those states will no longer be able to use it to build communities and connect with constituents,” Brown said in a statement.