US Senate Majority Leader says ban on short video app TikTok “must see” in an interview on Sunday.
Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator representing New York and leading the majority of his party in the House, told ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos that a ban on the popular app should be considered as China uses spy balloons and other technologies.
After discussing a recently passed law aimed at blocking China’s access to semiconductor manufacturing resources, Stephanopoulos then asked the senator about TikTok.
“My daughters won’t be happy about this, but what about a TikTok ban?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Schumer responded that he was open to the idea after the company’s CEO testified before a House committee.
“That’s something to pay attention to. We know that the Chinese own the company that owns TikTok. And there are people on the Trade Committee who are doing this right now.”
Schumer is one of the most senior Democrats to talk about banning the app from US users. Much of the criticism of the company comes from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump.
Trump had previously tried to ban TikTok from operating in the US, but was unsuccessful after a series of legal battles.
However, Schumer also called himself a “Chinese hawk” and defended the Biden administration’s actions against the country. “China has used us again and again. And this administration was almost tougher than any other,” he said.
In early March, TikTok CEO Show Tzu Chu is due to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding “consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on children, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.”
This will be the CEO’s first appearance before US lawmakers. The company said they “welcome the opportunity to clear things up” regarding U.S. security concerns.
The chair of the committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington, also raised concerns about TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
“TikTok, owned by ByteDance, knowingly allowed the Chinese Communist Party to access US user data,” Rogers said. “Americans deserve to know how these actions affect their privacy and data security, and what actions TikTok is taking to protect our children from online and offline harm.”
Increased attention is coming after 19 US states banned government employees from downloading the app on government devices due to security concerns.
In December, the federal government followed suit and introduced a similar ban on federal employees. Joe Biden signed the ban as part of the omnibus spending bill.
In addition, two US senators co-sponsored a bill to ban TikTok from operating in the country unless it cuts ties with ByteDance.
The bill’s sponsors are Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Independent Senator Angus King of Maine.
In a statement, TikTok called the law “a politically motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States.”
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