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The Senate unanimously passed a bill that would ban the use of TikTok on government devices amid growing national security concerns over the Chinese-owned social media platform.
The No TikTok on Government Devices Act, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), was passed late Wednesday.
“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Hawley said in a statement on Thursday. “States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”
Tonight the Senate unanimously passed my bill to BAN TikTok on all government devices
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 15, 2022
The bill will need to be passed in the House and signed by President Joe Biden to become law.
FBI Director Christopher Wray noted TikTok’s security concerns during a speech at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy earlier this month.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States. That should concern us,” Wray said.
The Senate action comes as several states have banned TikTok from state-issued devices. The Daily Wire previously noted the three most recent states to take precautions against TikTok, with separate orders announced Tuesday and Wednesday by the governors of Alabama, Iowa, and North Dakota.
Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts was the first state leader to ban the app on state devices in August 2020. South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem blocked the app in November, with several additional GOP-led states following.
Other states that have enacted likeminded TikTok bans include Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. At least ten states now have bans in place, with others considering similar policies.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers is also leading a drive to completely ban the use of TikTok nationwide.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the legislation in the Senate this month. Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the House.
“The bipartisan ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act is a strong step in protecting our nation from the nefarious digital surveillance and influence operations of totalitarian regimes,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.
Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok in 2020. The order was never implemented following legal hurdles. Biden revoked it in June 2021, replacing it with his own directive to protect the data of Americans from foreign adversaries.
TikTok has more than 100 million users in the U.S. It has been one of the most popular apps in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.