The White House said it is open to further action to curb TikTok, as legislation to ban the Chinese-owned app in the US begins making its way through Congress.
The video-sharing service has more than a billion users worldwide, including more than 100 million in the United States, where it has become a cultural force, especially among young people, among lawmakers and government.
President Joe Biden’s administration intends to prevent China and other countries from “seeking to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks” White House deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said, reports RTE.
“We’ll continue to look at other actions that we can take and that includes how to work with Congress on this issue,” Ms Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One, reports RTE.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee was expected to vote later today on legislation introduced by Republicans that would give Biden the authority to ban TikTok outright in the United States.
The bill would then go to a full vote in the House, where it was also likely to pass.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it opposes the recently introduced bill, arguing that it would limit free speech.
“Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression,” ACLU senior policy counsel Jenna Leventoff said, reports RTE.
The White House yesterday gave federal agencies 30 days to ban TikTok from all government-issued devices, setting a deadline for complying with the ban.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, banned the app on work devices to “protect” the institution, while the Canadian government this week banned TikTok from all its phones and devices, reports RTE.
TikTok has been waiting for months for the results of a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government agency that assesses the risks of foreign investments to US national security.
“The swiftest and most thorough way to address national security concerns is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years,” TikTok’s Oberwetter said, reports RTE.
Owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, TikTok has become a political target because of concerns that the app could be hacked by China’s Communist Party for espionage or propaganda.
TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations that it is sharing data or ceding control to the Chinese government.
US national security concerns over alleged Chinese espionage have grown in recent weeks after a Chinese balloon crossed into US airspace and was eventually shot down.
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