National Security

Senate Moves to Ban TikTok From Government-Issued Devices

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A Senate committee moved to ban the use of TikTok on U.S. government devices.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously passed a bill, proposed by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), that would ban government devices from using the Chinese social media app. The bill will now move on to a vote by the Senate.

"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," Hawley 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."

The app's potential national security risks have been a topic of ongoing conversations about the growing competition between the United States and China. Rep. Ken Buck (R., Colo.) proposed that the $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act forbid TikTok on government devices. The amendment passed 336-71.

Earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon reported on the app's growing influence-peddling operation among Beltway Democrats. Former staffers of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) are among those lobbying against restrictions on the app.

TikTok has faced federal oversight in the past. In February 2019, the app was hit with a $5.7 million fine for illegally collecting data of users under 13 years old.

An official statement from TikTok insists that compliance with U.S. national security guidelines is a top priority for the app. "Millions of American families use TikTok for entertainment and creative expression, which we recognize is not what federal government devices are for," said a company spokeswoman.