As more and more states across the country pile on to ban TikTok from state-owned devices, Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida along with Republican Representative Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin and Democrat Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois have taken the move to the next level by proposing a national ban of the platform.
The bill, titled “Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act” or, more succinctly, the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act. If passed, the Act would then go to the President’s desk and if signed, would “block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of a social media company,” 30 days after passage.
The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act defines the social media company of interest as those that are either headquartered in, uses algorithms controlled by, or is influenced by a “country of concern,” while later specifying that the companies of interest are TikTok parent company ByteDance and any of its subsidiaries.
“The federal government has yet to take a single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikTok. This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day,” Senator Rubio stated in a press release on his website. Representative Gallagher, meanwhile, referred to the platform as “digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news” in a subsequent statement.
A growing wave of anti-TikTok regulations has crashed on several U.S. states in the previous weeks. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem began the charge late last month by being the first to issue a TikTok ban on state-owned devices. “We will play no part in allowing China to continue to gain intel and influence in our state,” Noem said on Twitter. Texas, South Carolina, and Maryland all enacted similar bans soon after.
Last week, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita called TikTok a “malicious and menacing threat” while announcing two lawsuits filed against the social media platform that criticize how the app entices underage users and how the app collects sensitive user data.
What’s interesting about this effort from Rubio, Gallagher, and Krishnamoorthi is that it’s bipartisan, whereas the aforementioned state bans have all skewed Republican. While the idea of banning the platform was popularized by former President Donald Trump in 2020, the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act confirms that Democrats are coming around to the idea too.