Hawley, Buck Introduce New Bill to Ban TikTok in U.S.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the No TikTok on United States Devices Act to prohibit the Chinese-based TikTok app from being downloaded on U.S. devices and ban commercial activity with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. 

“TikTok poses a threat to all Americans who have the app on their devices. It opens the door for the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location through aggressive data harvesting. Banning it on government devices was a step in the right direction, but now is the time to ban it nationwide to protect the American people,” said Senator Hawley.

Representative Ken Buck (CO-4) is introducing House companion legislation. 

“TikTok is a clear threat to our privacy and national security. Not only is TikTok directly associated with the Chinese Communist Party, but it has been used to spy on Americans and gain an alarming level of access to users’ phones. This should concern every citizen who values their privacy, security, and personal information. Banning CCP tied TikTok nationwide is the only route to ending this malicious cybersecurity threat,” said Representative Buck. “I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Sen. Josh Hawley to ensure that every Americans’ privacy and security is protected from hostile foreign entities.”

View the bill text here

The No TikTok on United States Devices Act would: 

  • Direct the President to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) within 30 days to block and prohibit transactions with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, with stiff penalties for entities that attempt to evade these sanctions.  
  • Within 120 days of enactment, require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report and brief Congress on the threats to national security posed by TikTok, including:

    • The ability of Chinese government to access U.S. user data.
    • The ability of the Chinese government to use U.S. user data for intelligence or military purposes, including surveillance, microtargeting, deepfakes, or blackmail.
    • Ongoing efforts by the Chinese government to monitor or manipulate Americans using data accessed via TikTok.

Senator Hawley’s No TikTok on Government Devices Act was signed into law last year. 

He originally introduced the legislation in 2020 and it unanimously passed the Senate later that year. In April 2021, Senator Hawley reintroduced the legislation and it unanimously passed in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 

Senator Hawley has held hearings on the security concerns around TikTok for years, including a 2019 hearing when the company was invited to testify but refused to make an appearance, and has questioned their representatives as recently as September 14, 2022.