A trio of US lawmakers today introduced bipartisan, but drastic legislation to ban TikTok over claims the social media platform poses a national security threat.
US Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced the legislation, which is backed by a companion bill in the House from US Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.).
The lawmakers claim TikTok could surveil and influence millions of Americans because its parent ByteDance falls under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government, giving it the power to compel the social media platform to act as a spying tool.
“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,” Rubio says.
The Biden administration and TikTok are currently hammering out an agreement to resolve national security concerns. Nevertheless, Rubio criticized any potential deal, saying “there is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP [Chinese Communisty Party]-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”
The bipartisan legislation , dubbed the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, proposes doing so by requiring the White House to block all commercial operations of TikTok within the US. This would include prohibiting US consumers from using the social media app.
The punishment for violating the act would include civil penalties not exceeding $250,000 or a criminal penalty that could lead to a $1 million fine and up to 20 years in prison. The bill would only permit TikTok to operate in the US if ByteDance sold off the social media platform to a company outside of China.
That’s been tried before, of course. After former President Trump moved to ban TikTok by prohibiting companies from doing business with ByteDance, the company tried to sell off TikTok so it could live on in the US without Chinese ownership. Microsoft was floated as a potential buyer, as was Salesforce. Walmart and Oracle then agreed to create the domestic entity known as “TikTok Global,” but in the end, Oracle was simply selected as TikTok’s US cloud provider.
“Today, 100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure,” TikTok said in July, about a year after President Biden rescinded Trump’s executive order.