US Congress has introduced a bill to ban TikTok due to data protection and spying fears. The bill follows on the heels of a more recent bill that prevents government employees from using the app on government-owned devices.
The new bill is looking to outright ban the Chinese-owned social media app from American soil along with bills that would block transactions from any social media company in or influenced by China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela.
So why does Congress have such a bee in its bonnet about TikTok? Well, apparently, these apps could theoretically supply these governments with American user data. Which, in turn, could be used nefariously to censor news, manipulate voting, and generally do all sorts of Bad Things.
TikTok has made some efforts to counter these claims already. They store US user data on American soil, although some have accused ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, of being firmly in the Chinese Government’s pockets.
The company has responded by stating that the bills will “do nothing to advance” national security. Additionally, they have denied accusations that they are planning to track American users and pass information on to the Chinese government.
However, some US states have already taken matters into their own hands. Maryland and South Dakota states have already banned TikTok on government devices over security concerns.
It’s certainly an interesting development and something that counters the very global aspect of the internet. But national security is a serious matter, at least for the US. And will the US miss it anyway since all of the social media platforms are copy-cats of each other these days?