US lawmakers push nationwide TikTok ban

Lazy eyes listen


Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban TikTok on all devices in the US and to prohibit transactions with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, claiming it poses a significant national security risk.

Senator Josh Hawley and Representative Ken Buck introduced the ‘No TikTok on United States Devices Act’ on Wednesday, hoping to incorporate previous legislation that has already prohibited the app from being used on government computers.

“TikTok poses a risk to all Americans who have the app installed on their devices. Through aggressive data harvesting, it allows the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location,” Hawley said. “While prohibiting it on government devices was a step in the right direction, now is the time to prohibit it nationwide in order to protect the American people.”

The bill would use the president’s powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which authorizes the White House to intervene in commerce during a national emergency. Under the proposed legislation, US entities that continue to do business with ByteDance would face penalties.

The bill, according to TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter, “takes a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy, and online harms.”

“We hope that [Hawley] will direct his efforts toward efforts to address those issues holistically, rather than pretending that prohibiting a single service will solve any of the problems he’s concerned about or make Americans any safer,” the spokesperson added.

While Hawley told reporters on Capitol Hill that his legislation “specifically goes after TikTok” and “bans it,” the bill’s language appears to contain no provision prohibiting the app from being used on American devices. It’s unclear how such a prohibition would be enforced.