The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would ban federal employees from using the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on government phones. It will now go to the Senate floor.
“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who introduced the bill in March, said in a statement. “As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”
A companion bill passed in the House on Tuesday as part of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News earlier this month that the Trump administration is “looking at” an outright ban of TikTok and other Chinese social media apps.
TikTok has consistently denied that the app is a threat to users’ privacy and says it has never handed over data to the Chinese government.
“Millions of American families use TikTok for entertainment and creative expression, which we recognize is not what federal government devices are for,” a TikTok spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “Our American CEO, our Chief Information Security Officer who brings years of military and law enforcement experience, and our entire and growing US team –– which has tripled since the start of the year –– have no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy.”
The short-form video app has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2017, surpassing two billion downloads recently, according to an April report by the app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
But U.S. officials are worried that widespread use of the app is a security threat and that Americans’ data could be accessed by the Chinese government…Read more>>