Senate Majority Leader says ban on TikTok 'should be looked at'

The US Senate Majority Leader said that a ban on short-form video app TikTok ‘should be looked at’ in an interview on Sunday.

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator representing New York and leading his party’s majority in the chamber, told ABC newscaster George Stephanopoulos that a ban on the popular app should be considered during a discussion about China’s use of spy balloons and other technology.

After discussing recently passed legislation intended to block China’s access to semiconductor production resources, Stephanopoulos then asked the senator about TikTok.

‘This won’t make my daughters happy, but how about banning TikTok?’ Stephanopoulos asked.

‘It’s something that should be looked at. We do know there’s Chinese ownership of the company that owns TikTok. And there are some people in the Commerce Committee that are looking into that right now.’

Schumer is one of the highest-ranking Democrats to speak about a ban on the app for American users. Most of the criticism against the company has been levied by Republicans, including former President Donald Trump.

Trump had previously tried to ban TikTok from operating in the United States, but was unsuccessful after a series of court battles.

However, Schumer also called himself a ‘China hawk’ and defended the Biden administration’s actions against the country. ‘China has taken advantage of us over and over and over again. And this administration has been just about tougher than any other,’ he said.

Early in March, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce concerning the app’s ‘consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.’

This will be the CEO’s first appearance before a US legislators. The company stated that they ‘welcome the opportunity to set the record straight’ about American security concerns.

The committee chair, Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, also expressed concerns about TikTok’s Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance.

‘ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data,’ Rodgers stated. ‘Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms.’

The increased scrutiny comes after 19 US states have banned government employees from downloading the app on government devices due to security concerns.

In December, the federal government followed suit and enacted a similar ban for federal employees. Joe Biden signed the ban into law as part of an omnibus spending bill.

Additionally, two US senators have co-sponsored a bill that would prevent TikTok from operating in the country unless it cuts ties with ByteDance.

The legislation is being sponsored by Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and independent Senator Angus King of Maine.

In a statement, TikTok called the legislation a ‘politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States.’

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