The Senate passed legislation Wednesday evening to ban TikTok from US government devices. It’s known as No TikTok on Government Devices Act. With over a billion users worldwide now, TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. It became available worldwide only after merging with another Chinese social media service, Musical.ly, on 2 August 2018. TikTok has been subject to criticism over psychological effects such as addiction, as well as controversies over inappropriate content, misinformation, censorship and moderation and user privacy. US officials fear that TikTok’s user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. The actual legislative action comes as TikTok and the US government have been negotiating a deal that may allow the app to keep serving US users.
On Tuesday, US lawmakers led by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill to ban TikTok in the United States more generally. Several states already implemented bans on the social media platform. The Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, said parents should be concerned about the platform.”I think at the end of this week, really the fundamental question has changed,” Carr said. “It’s no longer whether TikTok is going to be banned, in terms of its current operations in the U.S., but a question of when,” FCC Chairman Brendan Carr declared.