U.S. Senator Introduces New Bill to Ban TikTok Nationwide: ‘It Threatens Our Children’s Privacy As Well As Their Mental Health’

ByteDance CEO
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ByteDance CEO
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Photo Credit: ByteDance

Amid continued TikTok user-data concerns – as well as crackdowns on university campuses across the U.S. – another bill is calling for the ByteDance-owned platform’s outright ban.

Senator Josh Hawley, one of several lawmakers who questioned Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold yesterday, just recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would outlaw TikTok in the States. A vocal critic of the video-sharing platform’s alleged security shortcomings and threat to user security, the lawmaker in 2020 introduced the “No TikTok On Government Devices Act.”

As its title suggests, the measure – which was signed into law last year after unanimously passing in the Senate – is designed to prohibit TikTok’s use on government devices. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives itself banned TikTok in late 2022, and north of 20 governors have barred the highly controversial service’s use on state devices.

In addition to these clampdowns, the FBI and the FCC have expressed far-reaching concerns about TikTok, which has already been banned altogether in Jordan and India. And with so many having deemed the platform an immediate security threat to government officials and national security, logic suggests that TikTok likewise poses an immediate security threat to its millions upon millions of (generally young) users.

Consequently, Senator Hawley is now the latest lawmaker to call for a complete TikTok ban in the U.S., having taken to social media to announce the introduction of the corresponding legislation.

“.@tiktok_us is China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives. It threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health. Last month Congress banned it on all government devices. Now I will introduce legislation to ban it nationwide,” the senator wrote.

At the time of this writing, the presumably straightforward bill didn’t appear to have been released in its entirety. Needless to say, the measure’s legislative fate – and the fate of similar bills – remains to be seen.

To be sure, it was only in December that the bipartisan ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, which would prohibit the stateside operation of any social platform based in, organized under the laws of, or owned by “a country of concern,” debuted in the House and the Senate. The bill specifically mentions TikTok as one such platform.

Earlier this month, it came to light that the Chinese government had purchased shares in TikTok owner ByteDance, after a Beijing “government fund” last August quietly bought a piece of a domestic ByteDance unit and took a position on its board. Plus, a recent report stated that TikTok employees possess access to a “heating button,” which enables them to drive views and spur viral trends on videos at their discretion.