US Republican, Democrat Lawmakers File Bill to Ban China’s TikTok

In response to worries about monitoring and censorship surrounding the China-owned app, Democrats and Republicans in the US have launched plans to ban TikTok, according to a report by Reuters.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Senator Marco Rubio proposed a plan that, if passed, would impose a ban on all social media businesses controlled by China and Russia.

A comparable bill in the US House of Representatives was sponsored, according to Rubio’s office, by Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi and Republican congressman Mike Gallagher. 

(Photo : NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
This photo illustration taken on September 14, 2020 shows the logo of the social network application TikTok (L) and a US flag (R) shown on the screens of two laptops in Beijing. – US tech giant Microsoft said on September 13 its offer to buy TikTok was rejected, leaving Oracle as the sole remaining bidder ahead of the imminent deadline for the Chinese-owned video app to sell or shut down its US operations.

Increasing Scrutiny

The bill was introduced as TikTok has been under increased scrutiny in the US in recent weeks following the Trump administration’s failed attempt to ban the short-form video platform. 

TikTok’s US activities create national security issues, according to FBI Director Chris Wray, who raised the concern at a hearing last month. He claimed that there’s a possibility that the Chinese government may use the app to influence users or take control of their devices.

The growing mistrust of TikTok also reached Alabama and Utah after they decided on Monday to prohibit the use of the app on state government computers and smartphones because of national security concerns.

Former President Donald Trump tried to stop new users from downloading TikTok in 2020. He also wanted to prohibit other transactions that would have virtually stopped the usage of the app in the US but he was unable to do so after losing several legal disputes.

Due to concerns that US user data would be transferred to China’s communist government, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) ordered ByteDance to sell its TikTok shares in 2020. 

Read also: TikTok Stays Confident in Reaching a Solution with US Authorities’ Concern Regarding Data Protection, CEO Says

Indiana Sues TikTok

Last week, TikTok was sued by Indiana’s attorney general, claiming that the app misleads its users, particularly the younger users, about the volume of sensitive content and the protection of their personal information.

Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita alleged in a lawsuit that the app allows underage users to access inappropriate content for indefinite periods.

The state governor of Texas also instructed all agencies to forbid employees from downloading or using the application on cellphones, tablets, or desktop computers while at work, including other state-owned devices in the state. 

This was the same case for South Dakota after Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order last month prohibiting state employees from using or downloading the app on state-owned devices. 

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