If Certain U.S. Lawmakers Have Their Way, America Will Lose TikTok

The bill comes amid growing concerns regarding the nefarious ways in which the Chinese government may be using the app against us

The dancing days of millions of American tweens could soon be over as United States Senator Marco Rubio and two members of the House of Reps floated legislation on Tuesday that would effectively ban TikTok across the U.S. over concerns about how the Chinese government may be using the app.

The bill comes on the heels of warnings from both FBI director Christopher Wray and cybersecurity experts who say that China could be using the platform to spy on American citizens and censure content. Should the bill become law, it would not only ban TikTok, but block all transactions from social media companies deemed “under the influence” of China, Russia, and “several other foreign countries of concern,” Florida Republican Rubio said in a press release.

Of course, Congress will be in session for just a few more days this year, so the bill is highly unlikely to get a glance in either chamber—it would have to be reintroduced next year when it faces a more favorable House under a Republican majority. The timing might even lead some to speculate that it’s just an attention-grabbing year-end stunt from “Little Marco,” but Rubio boldly insists that “we know [TikTok] answers to the People’s Republic of China” and that “there is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company.”

A companion bill in the House was sponsored by Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi and Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, giving the possibly futile and ridiculous gesture that “bipartisan” sparkle.

“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,” Krishnamoorthi said in the news release, “it is imperative that we do not allow hostile powers to potentially control social media networks that could be easily weaponized against us.”

TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown has responded to the bill with disappointment.

“It is unfortunate that the many state agencies, offices, and universities on TikTok in those states will no longer be able to use it to build communities and connect with constituents,” he lamented. “We believe the concerns driving these bans are largely fueled by misinformation about our company. We are always happy to meet with state policymakers to discuss our privacy and security practices.”

This is not the first time a ban on the adult-baffling social media platform has been attempted in the U.S. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump attempted to block new users from downloading the app. A series of court battles put the kibosh on that measure.

Even as recently as last month, Director Wray told a House Homeland Security Committee hearing that TikTok could use the app by controlling data that could manipulate the “recommendation algorithm.”

Whatever happens with the bill, several states have already banned TikTok on government devices, including Alabama, Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.

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