Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., introduced legislation in their respective chambers to ban downloading TikTok on all U.S. devices.
The move on Wednesday follows allegations of Chinese Communist Party connections for the Beijing-based social media company ByteDance, which operates TikTok — a video-sharing and social media platform.
ByteDance has consistently denied any backdoor dealings with the Chinese government.
“TikTok poses a threat to all Americans who have the app on their devices,” Hawley said. “It opens the door for the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location through aggressive data harvesting.”
The pair’s No TikTok on United States Devices Act directs the president to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act within 30 days to block transactions with ByteDance.
In addition, it requires the director of national intelligence to submit a report to Congress within 120 days detailing the threat of Chinese government access to U.S. data and its ability to use it for national security purposes.
TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter criticized the proposal, telling Reuters that it “takes a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy, and online harms.”
“We hope that he will focus his energies on efforts to address those issues holistically, rather than pretending that banning a single service would solve any of the problems he’s concerned about or make Americans any safer.”
Hawley successfully spearheaded legislation signed by President Joe Biden last month barring TikTok from all federal government devices, NPR reported.
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