U.S. Senator Josh Hawley is introducing a bill that would ban TikTok in the United States.
Following a ban that would stop federal employees from using the app or downloading it on government-owned devices, Hawley aims for an even bigger ban for the app that is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
“TikTok is China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives. It threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. “Now I will introduce legislation to ban it nationwide.”
TikTok issued a response to Hawley’s proposal.
“Senator Hawley’s call for a total ban of TikTok takes a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy and online harms,” spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said. “We hope that he will focus his energies on efforts to address those issues holistically, rather than pretending that banning a single service would solve any of the problems he’s concerned about or make Americans any safer.”
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 25, 2023
TikTok is based in Beijing and has been deemed a national security risk. It has been downloaded over 110 million times in the United States.
The company, however, claims that its servers are based out of China and that they are committed to transparency for its users. The app is also not available within China.
“At TikTok, we take these issues incredibly seriously as well. We are committed to transparency and accountability in how we support our TikTok users in the US and around the world,” the statement from TikTok read. “TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China. We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.”
TikTok was first launched in 2017 and is available for download on iOS and Android devices. Earlier this year, TikTok hit one billion downloads globally with the app available in over 150 markets and 75 languages.