Technology

US lawmakers propose legislation to ban TikTok

Authorities in Malaysia have warned of a surge in ethnic hatred on social media following an inconclusive general election, prompting short video platform TikTok to say on Wednesday that it was on high alert for anything that breaches its guidelines.

A bill to ban the popular social networking platform Tiktok in the United States has been submitted to the Senate.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Intelligence Committee is one of the bill’s supporters. He claimed that the Chinese government used the app to collect sensitive information from Americans and not merely to make movies.

In a statement released Tuesday, he said, “This is about an app collecting data on tens of millions of children and adults every day in the United States.”

Further, he said, “We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections. We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”

To paraphrase the bill’s preamble, “Americans from the threat posed by certain foreign adversaries using current or potential future social media companies that those foreign adversaries control to surveil Americans, learn sensitive data about Americans, or spread influence campaigns, propaganda, and censorship.”

TikTok and other sites owned by its parent business, Bytedance, are singled out in the bill as areas of particular concern.

Several states under Republican control have already taken action, and this latest law follows suit. Several states, including Texas, South Dakota, and Maryland, have taken steps to limit Tiktok’s availability on state-owned equipment.

Similar restrictions have been placed on the app by the United States Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Soon before his presidency ended, Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting the app unless it was sold to an American business. The current Biden government revoked the directive after it was challenged in court.

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