A Republican from Florida wants Joe Biden to permanently ban a social networking app across the United States, because Beijing seized control of the responsible entity.
Sen. Marco Rubio urged the president to crack down on TikTok’s foreign influence. The request came after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) acquired an equity stake and a board seat in the platform’s parent company, Byte Dance, on Aug. 17. Byte Dance also owns the Weibo Chinese microblogging website.
“Beijing’s aggressiveness makes clear that the regime sees TikTok as an extension of the party-state, and the United States needs to treat it that way,” he said in a statement. “U.S. partners such as India have already come to this conclusion, banning TikTok from their country last year–it is past time we acted on this threat as well.”
The senator encouraged the Biden administration to introduce new rules to help counter foreign influence from CCP technology.
“We must also establish a framework of standards that must be met before a high risk, foreign-based app is allowed to operate on American telecommunications networks and devices,” he said.
The Biden administration withdrew various Donald Trump-era executive orders back in June. The previous president’s orders had banned downloading WeChat and TikTok across America due to an imminent danger to national security. This was based on intelligence the CCP had used the app to illegally collect user data.
Biden chose to let the U.S. Department of Commerce evaluate TikTok, and determine whether the platform poses an economic or national security risk.
The app grew exponentially in the past few years and stirred up controversy after repeatedly violating user privacy. In February 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined the company $5.7 million for unlawfully collecting data on children.
The social network settled a $92 million class action lawsuit back in February 2021, after being accused of collecting and sharing personal information without user consent.
This created concern across the United States since mainly teenagers and young adults use the app. The company also vaguely specified the scope of biometric data collected.