Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio delivers a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., February 25, 2022.
Octavio Jones | Reuters
A new bill from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, if passed, would ban TikTok in the US after years of major concerns in the Trump and Biden administrations about possible Chinese government influence over the company.
Social media stocks like Meta and Snap were positive on Tuesday when the news broke. Meta shares are up more than 6% late morning and Snap is up more than 3%.
TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has sparked fears in the US that Chinese government officials could gain access to US user data under Chinese law, which could force the company to release information. TikTok has insisted that US user data be stored securely outside of China, which should keep them out of the reach of government officials.
But the company’s assurances have done little to dampen the heat on TikTok. The US Foreign Investment Committee is in talks with the company about how to resolve some of the data issues, though a resolution has reportedly been delayed. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray recently testified before Congress that he was “extremely concerned” about the Chinese government’s potential influence through TikTok on US users.
The new law, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., would “put all transactions from any social media company in or under”ban the influence of China, Russia and several other countries of concern,” according to a press release.
The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP ACT (which stands for Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Repressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party) specifically lists ByteDance and TikTok as subject to the restrictions of the bill, “unless and until the date on which the President certifies to Congress that the company no longer meets any of the conditions described,” such as being subject to “significant influence” by a country of concern.
“It is troubling that instead of encouraging the government to complete its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically motivated ban that will not advance the national security of the United States,” one said TikTok spokesman said. “We will continue to update members of Congress on the plans being developed under the oversight of our nation’s leading national security agencies — plans that we are in full swing to implement — to further secure our platform in the United States.”
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