A bill seeking to ban operations of TikTok in the United States was introduced by three members of the country’s parliament on Tuesday.
“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,” said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who introduced the bill with a bipartisan pair of colleagues in the House of Representatives.
The legislation would block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba,Venezuela and Russia, Rubio’s office said in a news release.
Dubbed the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act — or the ANTI-SOCIAL CPP Act — the proposed legislation would “block and prohibit all transactions” of TikTok and its China-based parent company ByteDance.
“We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections,” the Florida senator said in a statement. “We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. … It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who cosponsored a companion bill in the House, called the legislation “a strong step” to protect Americans from “the nefarious digital surveillance and influence operations of totalitarian regimes.”
“At a time when the Chinese Communist Party and our other adversaries abroad are seeking any advantage they can find against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance, it is imperative that we do not allow hostile powers to potentially control social media networks that could be easily weaponized against us,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.
“It is troubling that rather than encouraging the 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,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company would continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that are “well underway” to “further secure our platform in the United States.”
At a hearing last month, FBI Director Chris Wray said TikTok’s U.S. operations raise national security concerns, flagging the risk that the Chinese government could harness it to influence users or control their devices.