Members of US Congress propose ban on TikTok

Former president Donald Trump once tried to ban the app but was shut down in a series of court battles

The bill comes as scrutiny of TikTok has grown in Washington in recent weeks. EPA
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Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday announced bipartisan legislation to ban China's popular social media app TikTok, ratcheting up pressure on owner ByteDance amid US fears the app could be used to spy on Americans and censure content.

The legislation would block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia, Mr Rubio's office said in a news release.

It added that a companion bill in the US House of Representatives was sponsored by Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.

“It is troubling that, rather than encouraging the administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States,” a TikTok representative said in a statement.

The representative added that the company would continue to brief members of Congress on the plans that are “well under way” to “further secure our platform in the United States”.

The bill comes as scrutiny of TikTok has grown in Washington in recent weeks.

At a hearing last month, FBI Director Chris Wray said TikTok's US operations raise national security concerns, flagging the risk that the Chinese government could harness it to influence users or control their devices.

Alabama and Utah on Monday joined other US states prohibiting the use of TikTok on state government devices and computer networks due to national security concerns.

In 2020, Donald Trump, who was president at the time, attempted to block new users from downloading TikTok and ban other transactions that would have effectively blocked the app's use in the US but lost a series of court battles over the measure.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 12:01 AM