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US Lawmakers Launch War on TikTok with New Bill: Will the App Survive?
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US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, co-sponsored by Republican John Thune of South Dakota, plans to introduce a new bill this week to systematically ban Chinese technology from the US, including services like TikTok. Warner called it a “broad bipartisan bill” and said it would allow the US to ban or prohibit foreign technology when deemed necessary.

Speaking to Fox News, Warner elaborated on his reasoning behind the bill, citing concerns over TikTok’s potential to act as a propaganda tool and its collection and handling of user data. “You have 100 million Americans on TikTok for 90 minutes every day. They are taking data from Americans, not keeping it safe. But what worries me more with TikTok is that this can be a propaganda tool,” he said.

TikTok has seen significant commercial success in the US, to the detriment of local social media giants such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube. ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, has attempted to distance the app from its Chinese roots, including by hosting user data in Singapore. However, threats of a ban in the US had persisted for years, with former President Donald Trump coming close to forcing the sale of TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. before his term expired.

  
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Warner believes that China presents a significant threat to the US regarding national security and technology competition. He cautioned against the assumption that integrating China into the global economy would lead to increased liberalism, citing China’s continued investment in its economy and technology and its history of intellectual property theft. “China is investing in economic areas. They have $500 billion in intellectual property theft. And we compete not just on a national security basis, but on a technology basis,” he said.

Critics of the proposed ban argue that it would harm competition in the US tech market and limit consumer choice. Additionally, some have raised concerns over the potential for retaliation from China, which has previously taken measures to limit the operations of US tech companies in its market.

However, the move to ban TikTok has faced criticism, with some arguing that it is part of a broader anti-China agenda rather than a genuine concern for national security. Others have suggested that the US should focus on improving its technology and innovation rather than seeking to restrict the activities of foreign companies.

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Despite these criticisms, Warner and Thune’s proposed bill will likely garner support from both sides of the political aisle. The bill is part of a wider push to address concerns over Chinese influence in the US and is likely to be seen as a necessary step in the ongoing competition between the two countries.





 

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