Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban TikTok in US

Wed 14 Dec 2022 | 01:14 PM
Israa Farhan

Three US lawmakers have introduced new legislation aimed at banning TikTok from operating in the US.

The new bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a bipartisan pair of congressmen, reflects a recent escalation by US policymakers against the Chinese-owned short-video app.

TikTok has faced doubts about its ability to protect US user data from the Chinese government.

The proposed legislation would “block and prohibit all transactions” in the US by social media companies with at least one million monthly users that are based in, or under the “substantial influence” of, countries that are considered foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.

The bill specifically calls for TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, to be named as social media companies for the purposes of the legislation.

Rubio and one of the bill's sponsors in the House of Representatives, Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher, signaled their intention to advance the bill in a Washington Post op-ed last month.

The legislation comes as a wave of states led by Republican governors have imposed statewide restrictions on the use of TikTok on government-owned devices.

In the past two weeks, at least seven states have taken such measures, including Maryland, South Dakota, and Utah.

The flurry of activity contrasts with the drawn-out negotiations TikTok has conducted for years with the US government over a potential deal that could allow the company to address national security concerns and continue serving American users.

Earlier, TikTok noted that it does not share information with the Chinese government and that a US-based security team decides who can access US user data from China. 

TikTok also previously acknowledged that employees based in China currently have access to user data.

Tuesday’s bill is not the only federal legislation to target TikTok. Last year, US lawmakers proposed a law that would ban TikTok usage by federal agencies, and Rubio introduced a bill that would force some app makers to disclose ownership information. 

Another bill introduced this fall would prohibit TikTok from allowing China-based employees to access the user data of US citizens.