Congressional Bills Would Ban TikTok in the US to Thwart China

If you’re having trouble stepping away from that addictive stream of TikTok videos, the government might shut off the supply for you.

Citing the need to protect Americans from Chinese spying and propaganda, three members of Congress on Tuesday introduced legislation that would ban TikTok in the US.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, proposed a Senate bill to bar TikTok and its China-based parent company, ByteDance. Reps. Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, introduced a matching bill in the House of Representatives.

The move reflects the growing tensions between the US and China as the two superpowers clash over economic and military issues. China has long banned many US online companies like YouTube and Facebook that don’t abide by its censorship policies. The Biden administration, which objects to China’s human rights abuses and has concerns about China’s military, has moved to thwart chip imports to China.

TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data and censoring their news,” Gallagher said in a statement. TikTok is “Beijing-controlled,” Rubio added.

In a statement TikTok, said the proposed legislation is a bad idea.

“It is troubling that rather than encouraging the [Biden] administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States,” TikTok said. “We will continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies — plans that we are well underway in implementing — to further secure our platform in the United States.”

Social media can be a powerful conduit for influence campaigns. YouTube and Facebook have warned of Russian influence and disinformation campaigns, banning accounts to try to curtail such efforts.

About 111 million people in the US use TikTok each month, a 22% increase over 2021, according to app analytics firm

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