On Tuesday, three US lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation that would ban the availability of TikTok in the US. This policy is intended to protect US data from being owned by foreign competitors, specifically targeting TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
The Chinese government’s potential influence over the TikTok app has raised privacy concerns among both the public and lawmakers, who even The lawsuits escalated against the short video app.
The risk of TikTok tracking Americans is very high, according to one Press Release from Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), as Chinese law requires ByteDance to provide the app’s data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The SOCIAL ANTI-CCP Act (Stopping the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Influence and Censorship, and Algorithmic Learning Under the Chinese Communist Party Act), introduced by Rubio and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R- Wisc.), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), will ban all social media companies that pose a security threat to the United States from conducting activities in the United States.
According to the bill, its purpose is “To protect Americans from the threat posed by certain foreign adversaries by using existing or potential future social media companies that those foreign adversaries are that foreign player controls to spy on Americans, learn sensitive data about Americans, or spread influence campaigns, propaganda, and censorship.”
Social companies affected by the bill are those that are headquartered, controlled or influenced by a relevant country or entity. Countries described as countries of concern include the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.
In the “regarded companies” section of the document, the bill specifically names ByteDance, TikTok and any of its subsidiaries, and requires them to be blocked and prohibited from making any transactions in the United States. Ky.
“TikTok is the digital fentanyl that is addictive to Americans, gathering their trove of data and censoring their news,” Gallagher said in the press release. “It’s also an increasingly powerful media company owned by ByteDance, the company that ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party – America’s top enemy.”
TikTok did not immediately respond to ZDNET’s request for comment. However, a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC, “It is disturbing that instead of encouraging the Administration to conclude a national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to promote a politically motivated ban will not help the national security of the United States.”