TikTok Ban Looks More Likely as Senators Push Bill to Nix Foreign Tech

Person holds phone with TikTok on it

The possibility of a national TikTok ban continues to grow as U.S. Senators push a bill that will help “ban or prohibit” foreign technology such as the Chinese-owned video app.

Democrat Senator and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Thune will introduce a broad bipartisan bill this week that will outline an approach to banning or prohibiting foreign technology that poses a national security threat.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Warner confirms that TikTok would be “one of the potentials” for review under the bill.

“You got 100 million Americans on TikTok 90 minutes a day,” Warner says. “They are taking data from Americans. They are not keeping it safe.”

The senator from Virginia also mentions his concerns about the circulation of ideological content or propaganda on TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance. Warner’s and Thune’s bill already has early bipartisan support.

A Nationwide TikTok Ban?

Warner’s legislation comes amid growing safety and security concerns around TikTok, which has one billion users and is the sixth most-used social media platform in the world.

Last week, Republican committee chair Michael McCaul described TikTok as a “spy balloon in your phone”– in reference to the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina last month.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance a bill that would grant President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok at his will.

And in December, the U.S. banned the app for all federal government devices due to fears about potential spying by China.

Meanwhile, last month, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) issued a written demand to the CEOs of Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their company’s app stores due to the possibility that China’s government could “weaponize” the app against the U.S.

TikTok has also faced scrutiny outside of the U.S. in recent months — with international bans mounting against the app.

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned TikTok on government-issued devices over fears that users’ data could be misused.

Meanwhile, the European Commission, the executive power of the European Union (EU), has banned its staff from using TikTok over security fears.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.