WASHINGTON — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, announced he plans to introduce legislation Wednesday that would ban the popular social media app TikTok in the United States.
in a cheep On Tuesday, Hawley said that TikTok is “China’s back door into American lives. It threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health. Congress last month banned it from all government devices. I will now present legislation to ban it throughout the country.
Hawley said in a separate tweet plans to unveil the move on Wednesday.
“What my bill does is it goes after TikTok specifically: it bans it. It doesn’t ban any other app, but it also requires a full report to Congress about the threat to national security” the app poses and its relationship to the Chinese . Communist Party, Hawley told reporters on Capitol Hill. “But listen, I welcome all efforts to ban TikTok, whatever form it takes.”
While the bill likely won’t make it through the currently divided Congress, a separate measure banning TikTok on some government devices has already been enacted, included in the $1.7 trillion overhead spending bill. The provision, which President Joe Biden signed into law last month, banned the app and other apps from ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company of TikTok, on all executive branch devices. However, it did not apply to members of Congress and their staff.
In late December, Catherine L. Szpindor, the Chamber’s administrative director, ordered lawmakers and staff to remove TikTok from all House-issued mobile phones and prohibited them from downloading the app on those devices.
The directive did not apply to the Senate, where some members, including Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, also called for the app to be banned entirely in the US.
Rubio introduced a Senate bill to ban TikTok in the US in December, and Reps Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, introduced a companion measure in the House.
Lawmakers said at the time that their bill was aimed at protecting Americans from foreign adversaries who could use certain social networks to monitor Americans, obtain sensitive information about them, and spread influence or propaganda campaigns.
Under that measure, the president could impose sanctions on TikTok and other social media companies to prevent them from doing business in the US. The bill would have to be re-introduced in the current Congress.
Following the November midterm elections, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers in Congress that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control users’ devices, for influence or espionage purposes.
Several states have also taken steps to ban the use of TikTok on government devices. In recent months, many public universities have restricted access to TikTok on school computers, mobile phones and Wi-Fi, consistent with executive orders in those states that ban the app on government-owned devices and networks.
kate santaliz contributed.