Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a press statement on Tuesday detailing a new bipartisan bill in the Senate that would create new federal law banning the social media app TikTok in the United States. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company based in China and directly connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Under Chinese law, ByteDance and TikTok must cooperate with CCP intelligence operations by sharing data it collects from the U.S. and worldwide.
TikTok is a wildly popular social media platform that millions of American teenagers and many businesses use.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, Federal Communications Commissioners, and cybersecurity professionals have uniformly warned that it is virtually certain that the CCP is using TikTok to surveil American citizens and businesses.
Rubio: TikTok allows the Chinese Communist Party to access your private data. I want to ban it. pic.twitter.com/g9ehOv3sfj
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) December 14, 2022
The new federal legislation is titled the “Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP) Act.”
The law is designed to protect national security and American citizens by prohibiting all transactions inside the U.S. by any social media firm under the control of “countries of concern,” including China and Russia.
Rubio said in his press statement that TikTok’s mission is not “about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day.”
He added that Congress is aware that the app is “used to manipulate feeds and influence elections.”
Rep. Gallagher has recently described TikTok as “digital fentanyl that is addicting Americans.”
In addition to direct spying, he argues that TikTok is “endangering national security by manipulating opinion and influence.”
He also said that permitting TikTok to operate inside the U.S. is like “allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up the New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War.” He emphasized that time is of the essence in banning the platform, arguing that “no country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen.”
TikTok has been banned from state-issued electronic devices recently in Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued a similar order in her state earlier this week.