House Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and other GOP legislators are apparently working on legislation to bar federal employees from having Tiktok on their phones after federal communication authorities asked the US government to ban the video-sharing app to safeguard American people’ private data.
According to a Republican staffer familiar with the situation, the House Judiciary Committee is considering the plan before GOP legislators formally take control of the new Congress.
“We’re working on doing something right now,” the aide said.
Growing security worries about the Chinese-based social media app have drawn the attention of legislators after the Federal Communications Commission stated that the government agency couldn’t oversee the social media app and data flow going back to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
TikTok, which has more than 200 million downloads in the U. S., is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, and the firm must disclose its data with the CCP upon request, as mandated by the country’s 2017 National Intelligence Law.
TikTok officials replied to the FCC, stating the business is still optimistic about reaching a deal with the federal government on national security issues.
However, leaked audio acquired by BuzzFeed News in June indicated that China had access to TikTok user data in the United States for months while U.S. personnel did not. Between September 2021 and January 2022, the audio covered more than 80 internal sessions at the social media firm.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem ordered state employees to cease using the app immediately last week, stating they would “play no part in the information collection operations of nations which hate us.”
“The Chinese Communist Party manipulates Americans by using information gathered on TikTok, and they capture data from the devices that use the site,” Noem stated in a news statement.
Other South Dakota officials have already raised concerns about the app’s impact on American students and children.
“TikTok offers trash stuff to American children and informative information to Chinese kids,” Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) tweeted in response to a “60 Minutes” program about the variations in content promoted by the app in the United States and China. “We don’t have faith in this company.”
In August, Johnson filed legislation to prohibit TikTok from collecting data from Americans within the People’s Republic of China. TikTok would also have been prohibited from being downloaded on federal government devices, including military sites and federal agencies, under the law.
Last month, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher filed legislation to outright prohibit the app in the United States, alleging that CCP officials use the program to “subtly indoctrinate American residents.”
“TikTok is a huge danger to U.S. national security,” the senators wrote, adding that “until TikTok and its algorithm can be disconnected from Beijing, the app’s usage in the US will continue to jeopardize our nation’s safety and pave the way for a Chinese-influenced digital landscape here.”
In China, “no corporation is genuinely private,” according to Rubio.