WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — Short form video social media platform TikTok is facing increasing pressure from lawmakers in the U.S. where it has been banned on state-issued electronic devices in at least 14 states and where Congress is likely to follow suit for federal employees.
Congress is expected to pass a significant spending bill this week that includes a ban of TikTok of devices issued to federal employees and a separate bi-partisan measure is being considered that would ban the social media app for everyone in the U.S.
The proposed legislation, which was introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio in the Senate and Republican congressman Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi in the House, would ban all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia.
American security and law enforcement officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent congressional testimony, expressed concern about how TikTok’s parent company, China-based ByteDance, collects and uses potentially sensitive user data, including location information, obtained through TikTok.
China requires that all companies make data available to the government and while TikTok has previously stated that data for American users is not stored in China, the company has conceded that some of its employees in China have access to that data.
American security officials have also expressed concern that TikTok’s algorithm and the content it delivers to users, could be used to sway Americans, or that the app itself could be used to infiltrate and compromise devices.
In a statement, TikTok noted that it was “disappointed that Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices – a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests – rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review.”