Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo. ), a hawk on China policy, announced on Tuesday that he would file legislation to outlaw the short-form video app TikTok in the US.
A ban on TikTok, whose parent business is the Chinese firm ByteDance, would prevent federal employees from using or downloading the app on equipment owned by the government.
“TikTok is China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives. It threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health. Now I will introduce legislation to ban it nationwide.”
Hawley was adopting the incorrect strategy, according to a statement from TikTok.
“Senator Hawley’s call for a total ban of TikTok takes a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy and online harms. We hope that he will focus his energies on efforts to address those issues holistically, rather than pretending that banning a single service would solve any of the problems he’s concerned about or make Americans any safer,” said Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok.
The app, which claims to have more than a billion users worldwide, is renowned for its short videos and potent algorithm that facilitates the discovery of fresh material. It has boosted the careers of influencers and pop musicians like Lil Nas X.
Since banning TikTok is a kind of internet censorship, it is challenging for a nation to outlaw it. Prior to President Joe Biden lifting the ban, former President Donald Trump’s attempts to restrict the app in 2020 were contested in court.