Wed, 07 Jun 2023

US House: Lawmakers to move forward on banning TikTok

Robert Besser
29 Mar 2023, 16:28 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said that lawmakers will move forward on legislation aimed at restricting the use of Chinese-owned short video app TikTok, alleging China's government can access its American users' data.

There had been calls in the US to either ban TikTok, owned by ByteDance, or pass bipartisan legislation giving President Joe Biden's administration legal authority to impose a ban.

The app was recently banned from devices owned by the US government.

On Twitter, McCarthy said, "The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party."

At a House Committee hearing last week, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by lawmakers from both parties about national security and other concerns involving the app, which has 150 million users in the US.

When asked if the app has spied on Americans at Beijing's request, Chew answered, "No."

Republican Representative Neal Dunn then asked Chew about the company's disclosure in December that some China-based employees at ByteDance improperly accessed TikTok user data of two journalists and were no longer employed by the company.

"I do not think that spying is the right way to describe it," Chew said, in response.

In an interview with ABC News over the weekend, Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, said, "Rather than appease lawmakers' concerns, Chew's appearance before Congress actually increased the likelihood that Congress will take some action."

In 2020, former US President Donald Trump was unable to ban TikTok and another Chinese app, WeChat, owned by Tencent, after losing a series of court rulings.

Many Democrats also have raised concerns, but have not fully committed to supporting a US ban of TikTok.

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