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US TikTok ban across government devices renews calls for complete ban

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One thing U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree on is that TikTok is a national security threat. As a result, there is now a bipartisan push for it to get it banned outright. Last week, President Biden signed a new law barring the app from all federal government devices after states like Nebraska, Georgia and Texas enacted similar bans.

Even local city councils are going after the social media giant, which has now amassed over 85 million users in the U.S. alone. But all of these technical bans really only impact the government and government devices. TikTok is still free to use on any and all private devices. Still a larger concern remains: TikTok is owned by Chinese internet giant, Bytedance.

U.S. officials have said that because businesses in China aren’t truly independent from the government in Beijing, officials there could force TikTok to hand over data it collects on American users. What’s notable is that TikTok has already admitted to spying on American users and tracking journalists.

“And so all of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values,” said FBI Director Chris Wray. 

For some lawmakers, a ban that only pertains to government is not enough, and they are looking to block TikTok in America once and for all. An attempt made by former President Donald Trump, more than two years ago, was shot down by a judge partially over free speech concerns. Some national security experts say the tremendous reach of TikTok has made it only harder to ban outright. Many creators say they rely on the platform for their income. 

TikTok calls the recent government bans a “political gesture” that will do nothing to advance national security interests.

MAHMOUD BENNETT: ONE THING US LAWMAKERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE AGREE ON – TIKTOK IS A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT.

AND WE’RE SEEING RARE BI-PARTISANSHIP IN THE PUSH FOR IT TO GET BANNED.

LAST WEEK PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNED A NEW LAW BARRING THE APP FROM ALL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEVICES. FOLLOWING STATES LIKE NEBRASKA, GEORGIA AND TEXAS WHICH HAD ENACTED SIMILAR BANS.

EVEN LOCAL CITY COUNCILS ARE GOING AFTER THE SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT  – WHICH HAS NOW AMASSED OVER 85 MILLION USERS IN THE U.S. ALONE.

BUT ALL OF THESE TECHNICAL BANS SO FAR REALLY ONLY IMPACT THE GOVERNMENT – OR A TINY MINORITY – TIK TOK IS STILL TECHNICALLY FREE TO USE ON ANY AND ALL PRIVATE DEVICES.

AND THE LARGER CONCERNS REMAIN: SEE, TIKTOK IS OWNED BY CHINESE INTERNET GIANT, BYTEDANCE.

U.S. OFFICIALS HAVE SAID THAT BECAUSE BUSINESSES IN CHINA AREN’T TRULY INDEPENDENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT IN BEIJING, OFFICIALS THERE COULD FORCE TIKTOK TO HAND OVER DATA IT COLLECTS ON AMERICAN USERS. WHAT’S NOTABLE IS THAT TIKTOK HAS ALREADY ADMITTED TO SPYING ON AMERICAN USERS AND TRACKING JOURNALISTS

CHRIS WRAY | FBI DIRECTOR: “AND SO ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE IN THE HANDS OF A GOVERNMENT THAT DOESN’T SHARE OUR VALUES”

BENNETT: FOR SOME LAWMAKERS –  A GOVERNMENT-ONLY BAN IS NOT ENOUGH AND THEY’RE LOOKING TO BLOCK TIKTOK IN AMERICA ONCE AND FOR ALL.

AN ATTEMPT MADE BY FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP MORE TWO YEARS AGO – WHICH WAS SHOT DOWN BY A JUDGE IN PART OVER FREE SPEECH CONCERNS.

SOME NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS SAY THE TREMENDOUS REACH OF TIKTOK HAS MADE IT ONLY HARDER TO BAN OUTRIGHT. MANY CREATORS SAY THEY RELY ON THE PLATFORM FOR THEIR INCOME. 

TIKTOK CALLS THE RECENT GOVERNMENT BANS A QUOTE POLITICAL GESTURE THAT WILL DO NOTHING TO ADVANCE NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS.

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One thing U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree on is that TikTok is a national security threat. As a result, there is now a bipartisan push for it to get it banned outright. Last week, President Biden signed a new law barring the app from all federal government devices after states like Nebraska, Georgia and Texas enacted similar bans.

Even local city councils are going after the social media giant, which has now amassed over 85 million users in the U.S. alone. But all of these technical bans really only impact the government and government devices. TikTok is still free to use on any and all private devices. Still a larger concern remains: TikTok is owned by Chinese internet giant, Bytedance.

U.S. officials have said that because businesses in China aren’t truly independent from the government in Beijing, officials there could force TikTok to hand over data it collects on American users. What’s notable is that TikTok has already admitted to spying on American users and tracking journalists.

“And so all of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values,” said FBI Director Chris Wray. 

For some lawmakers, a ban that only pertains to government is not enough, and they are looking to block TikTok in America once and for all. An attempt made by former President Donald Trump, more than two years ago, was shot down by a judge partially over free speech concerns. Some national security experts say the tremendous reach of TikTok has made it only harder to ban outright. Many creators say they rely on the platform for their income. 

TikTok calls the recent government bans a “political gesture” that will do nothing to advance national security interests.

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