To protect the private data of American citizens, House Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and other House Republicans are drafting legislation to ban the use of TikTok among federal employees. The House Judiciary Committee plans to propose the bill before Republicans officially gain majority.
“We’re working on something right now,” a Republican aide said to The Daily Caller.
After the Federal Communications Commission raised concerns about its inability to regulate the data collection from the China based company, suspicions of TikTok have been on the rise. TikTok officials attempted to reassure the FCC of the app’s safety but in June Buzzfeed news obtained leaked audio of meetings confirming China’s access to American user data.
Last week, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem ordered state employees to stop using the app.
“Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately. I hope other states will follow South Dakota’s lead, and Congress should take broader action, as well,” Governor Noem wrote in a press release.
In August Congressman Dusty Johnson proposed a bill to ban TikTok from being downloaded on any federal devices. The bill would also ban TikTok from collecting American user data.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher called for legislation to ban TikTok nationwide due to security threats.
“TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is not a state-owned enterprise, but in China, no company is truly private,” Rubio wrote in a press release, “Under the country’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all citizens and businesses are required to assist in intelligence work, which includes sharing data.”
FBI director Chris Wray warned of China’s ability to control the app’s algorithms.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States. That should concern us,” Chris Wray said.
In 2020, Trump also attempted to ban the app unless it was purchased by an American company. Huge American tech companies including Microsoft bid to purchase the app but their bids were declined and ByteDance sued the Trump Administration.
Any legislation revolving around a TikTok restriction will be difficult to enforce due to the app’s booming success. For three years, TikTok has held first place in number of annual app downloads.
“TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, with 656 million downloads,” Hootsuite reported.
TikTok is the highest grossing app, reeling in over $2.5 billion in 2021. Users spend 197.8 million hours per day on TikTok. Only Congress could pass legislation able to withstand legal challenges and battle a social media giant.