WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — Legislation seeking to ban the Chinese-owned social media sharing service TikTok from operating in the United States has been officially introduced in Congress.
Dubbed the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act), would seek to block and prohibit all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern.
The proposed legislation was introduced in the Senate by Florida republican Marco Rubio, and in the House by Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
The bills calls on the President to exercise powers granted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of TikTok and their Chinese parent company, ByteDance in the U.S.
“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. 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,” Senator Rubio said.
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party – America’s foremost adversary. Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up the New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late,” Representative Gallagher added.
The proposed legislation follows mounting concern among senior defense and law enforcement officials about the social media platform and who can access its user data. In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that he was concerned about the app, noting that the Government of China requires ByteDance, to provide it with access to user data upon request.
“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices, which gives it an opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices,” Wray told the House committee in November.
TikTok, which topped more than 1 billion active users worldwide in 2021, maintains that user data for U.S. citizens is stored on servers in the U.S. but admitted in July that non-U.S. employees have access to the data.
In a statement provided to CNN, a spokesperson for TikTok said: “It’s 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.”
“We will continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies—plans that we are well underway in implementing—to further secure our platform in the United States,” the spokesperson continued.