Lawmakers in the US have announced a bipartisan bill to ban social media app TikTok. The legislation would block all transactions by social media companies based in, or considered under the influence of, countries deemed to be adversaries.
If the bill gets through, any social media companies that are based in countries including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba would be unable to operate in the US. If you think that is a long-winded way of saying "TikTok", the app and its parent company ByteDance are named in the proposed legislation, along with any associated companies or successors. The legislation is also described as "bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok" in a press release from the office of Mark Rubio.
The legislation, which comes from Republicans and Democrats, comes amid security concerns about the social media giant, and political tensions with China.
"The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok," Rubio said in a press release. "This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day."
TikTok has been accused of harvesting "excessive" amounts of data from its users, and is currently under investigation by the EU following allegations that the platform sent European users' data to China.
"It is troubling that rather than encouraging the 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," a TikTok spokesperson responded in a statement seen by Reuters. The company has recently announced a new US Data Security team to "ensure compliance with protocols being developed with the U.S. Government".
The bill, which would see the US follow in India's footsteps in banning the app, is unlikely to pass. President Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat from the US, but that order was revoked by President Biden in June 2021.