The US Senate passed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act Wednesday evening, proposing to ban the popular social media app from all government-owned devices. Authored by Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, this move is a step to limit any potential information-security risks stemming from the app's Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party,” said Sen. Hawley, according to the statement. “It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices. States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”
The bill aims to prevent any user data—which could include messages and personal information of Americans—from being sent to Chinese authorities, as required under Chinese law. The bill does not require a ban on TikTok for all American citizens, but rather just for those using government-owned devices. This includes federal employees and contractors who would be barred from downloading the app onto their phones or other devices.
This isn't the first time lawmakers have taken action against TikTok. In August 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order requiring ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok within 90 days due to an “unusual and extraordinary threat” posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, his order was blocked by a federal judge in September last year.
Here are some states that have banned TikTok from government devices include:
It is still unclear whether Congress will take up the act in light of its passage in the Senate; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that it has yet to be determined whether or not they will pass it in their chamber as well.