TICKTOCK FOR TIKTOK
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would ban federal employees from using TikTok on government devices.
The No TikTok on Government Devices Act comes after the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security each voluntarily instituted bans on the popular Chinese-owned short-form video platform.
Scrutiny on the social media app’s ownership, Chinese company ByteDance, has risen in lockstep with its skyrocketing popularity — it has been downloaded over 123 million times in the U.S.
The concern is largely tied to a 2017 Chinese law that requires Chinese companies to comply with data requests for state intelligence work.
“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing,” Hawley said in a statement. “As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”
Scott added that continued use of TikTok by government officials “is a risk to our network and a threat to our national security.”
“We should all be very concerned about the threat of Communist China, and I hope my colleagues will join me to implement this ban immediately and protect our national security,” he said in a statement.
TikTok has continually rebuffed claims from lawmakers that the company presents a security risk, and there is no public evidence to suggest that the Chinese government has any access to the data of U.S. users.