Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan measure to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok in the U.S. Reps Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) likewise introduced similar legislation in the House.
TikTok is widely assailed for the vast troves of consumer data it gleans from American users. Further, it is required by Communist Chinese law to provide that information to Beijing whenever it is requested.
The effort to sweep the platform out of the country began under former President Donald Trump, who attempted that exact feat late in his administration. It, however, met with multiple legal challenges and floundered.
Now it has once again picked up support.
A Federal Communications Commission member and even the FBI director called for its removal over serious national security concerns.
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 accomplish just that — despite its unwieldy title.
BREAKING: Republicans have introduced legislation to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/xUKcb1G1o3
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 13, 2022
The letter of the proposed law stated that it would protect Americans “by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company” influenced by China, Russia, and other foreign entities that pose a threat.
Gallagher descriptively called TikTok “digital fentanyl.” He accused the platform of gathering sweeping data on U.S. citizens while censoring their news in a way favorable to the CCP.
He further compared allowing TikTok to operate unimpeded in the country to the federal government permitting the old U.S.S.R. to purchase the New York Times, Washington Post, and major television networks during the Cold War.
Some states have already banned employees from using TikTok on government devices. With its ability to record private activities of users, Alabama and Utah this week joined the growing list of states taking strong measures against the Chinese app.
For its part, TikTok claimed that the data is stored outside of China. And while this may be true, it was recently revealed that these digital archives are still accessible to Beijing, rendering their storage location irrelevant.
China is doubtless the number one global adversary of the U.S. and allowing unfettered access to private citizens’ data is a national security risk. Rubio and his colleagues are on the right track, and it’s high time the rest of Congress and the White House step up and address this menace.