Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Tuesday introduced he would introduce a invoice to implement a nationwide ban the social media app TikTok.
“[TikTok] is China’s backdoor into Individuals’ lives. It threatens our youngsters’s privateness in addition to their psychological well being,” Hawley tweeted Tuesday morning. “Final month Congress banned it on all authorities gadgets. Now I’ll introduce laws to ban it nationwide.”
Hawley, a longtime critic of TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese language firm ByteDance, has beforehand accused the app of posing a “main safety threat” to the US. He was the chief creator of the No TikTok on Authorities Units Act, which was enacted final 12 months and prohibits using TikTok on government-issued gadgets.
A standalone model of Hawley’s invoice to ban TikTok on authorities gadgets handed the Senate with bipartisan assist in December following revelations from FBI Director Christopher Wray that Chinese language officers are in a position to “manipulate content material, and in the event that they wish to, to make use of if for affect operations.”
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“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese language Communist Celebration. It’s a serious safety threat to the US, and till it’s compelled to sever ties with China fully, it has no place on authorities gadgets,” Hawley mentioned in a press release on the time. “States throughout the U.S. are banning TikTok on authorities gadgets. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to assist do the identical.”
“Sen. Hawley’s name for a complete ban of TikTok takes a piecemeal strategy to nationwide safety and a piecemeal strategy to broad business points like knowledge safety, privateness, and on-line harms,” mentioned Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok.
“We hope that he’ll focus his energies on efforts to deal with these points holistically, fairly than pretending that banning a single service would resolve any of the issues he is involved about or make Individuals any safer,” Oberwetter added.
In December, TikTok slammed Congress and the Biden administration after Hawley’s invoice handed the Senate.
“It’s troubling that fairly than encouraging the administration to conclude its nationwide safety assessment of TikTok, some members of Congress have determined to push for politically motivated bans that may do nothing to advance the nationwide safety of the US,” a TikTok spokesperson mentioned.
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Biden administration officers, together with Wray and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have warned Congress that the video sharing app poses “authentic nationwide safety considerations.”
Wray testified to the Homeland Safety Committee that it’s potential “the Chinese language authorities may use it to regulate knowledge assortment on thousands and thousands of customers or management the advice algorithm, which may very well be used for affect operations in the event that they so selected, or to regulate software program on thousands and thousands of gadgets, which supplies the chance to doubtlessly technically compromise private gadgets.”
Varied governors in numerous states together with South Dakota, Virginia, New Hampshire, Texas and Georgia have additionally banned TikTok from authorities gadgets.
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Fox Information’ Ronn Blitzer, Brooke Singman and Eric Revell contributed to this report.