Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation to ban popular social media site TikTok. The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act aims to implement a nation-wide halt of operations for TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, Ltd. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sponsored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Senator Rubio claims the act “would protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern” like Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. However, Senator Rubio maintained that the primary purpose of the bill is “to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”
The introduction of the act comes amidst rising concerns over TikTok’s privacy and content moderation policies. Rubio, Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi cited China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law and TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government as reasons to support the bill. In a 2020 memo, the Department of Homeland Security reported that Chinese “laws may be used to compel PRC firms to illicitly provide the PRC government with data, logical access, encryption keys, and other vital technical information.” In a 2019 speech, then-Director of the National Counterintelligence Security Center William Evanina raised concerns about the Chinese National Intelligence law as well, saying that it “compel[s] every Chinese citizen and company to assist in national security or intelligence work.” TikTok denies these allegations.
A ban on TikTok would shift how young Americans consume news. Currently, 10 percent of all American adults report that they regularly consume news via TikTok, and 25 percent of American adults under 30 report the same.