Senate Votes to Ban TikTok on Government Devices

Senate Votes to Ban TikTok on Government Devices

Senate Votes to Ban TikTok on Government Devices

As fractious as Congress has been for a while now, you’d think they’d never agree on anything. But late on Wednesday, the Senate voted unanimously to ban TikTok from government devices. That’s because ByteDance, a Chinese-owned company, owns the app. All the data it collects on its users are likely to be flowing back to the Chinese Communist Party.

That ban is a good first step. Now, let’s get a national ban on TikTok, as President Trump had proposed.

In the meantime, let’s applaud the unanimous passage of the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” which had been introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

Josh Hawley TikTok

Sen. Josh Hawley. Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0. 

So what’s the beef with the popular social media app? As Hawley said in a statement:

“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices.”

Now it’s up to the House to pass the bill, and for President Biden to sign it into law. He should heed the advice of his own Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said last month that TikTok presents “legitimate national security concerns.”

It also appears that the Senate has been following the lead of several states. Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, Maryland, Nebraska, and now Utah have banned the app on government devices within their states. Plus, the US Army has prohibited soldiers from using TikTok on government-owned devices since 2019.


Sen. Marco Rubio Hates TikTok Too

Hawley isn’t the only senator who is working to proscribe the app. So is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has introduced a bill, the “ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act,” to ban it nationwide. Rubio said in a statement:

“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.”

On Wednesday, Rubio used YouTube to explain why he wants to eliminate TikTok.

Rubio also appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday evening to talk more about the bill he introduced:

“If TikTok was a Russian company, there would be an FBI raid of their headquarters. At least, they would be calling for it on the left.”

Rubio is joined by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. In an interview with Axios, Carr said he was concerned about not only the data flowing back to the CCP, but the risk of China using TikTok to covertly influence political processes in the United States. Previously Carr had also sent letters to Apple and Google in June asking them to remove TikTok from their app stores.


ByteDance Has Lied About TikTok Security

Whenever a Chinese company assures you that your data is safe with them, red flags should be flying.

TikTok has claimed that China does not store US data, and that they don’t comply with Chinese content requirements.

Yeah, but even liberal BuzzFeed has shown those to be lies. In the summer, BuzzFeed reported the following:

  • China-based engineers working at TikTok accessed nonpublic U.S. user information, including phone numbers and birthdays.
  • ByteDance instructed employees to push pro-Beijing messaging to U.S. users of a news app.

In addition, Forbes reported last month that ByteDance planned to use TikTok to collect information about certain U.S. users.

It’s no wonder that Republicans and Democrats are coming together about TikTok. You know it’s a big deal when a Democrat senator admitted that yes, President Trump was right about TikTok.

Last week, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said this:

“This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago. If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok … the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict.”

A Democrat senator admitting that Trump got something right. And Warner is also chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Who’d have thought that would ever happen?


CNN Plays Politics With Security

Even though there legislators from both sides of the aisle sounding the alarm about the deleterious effects of TikTok, there are others who scoff at legislation to ban the app.

Like CNN’s Oliver Darcy, who wrote that such policies have “become politically advantageous in the Republican Party.” “It’s playing to the Fox News crowd,” as one anonymous “source” told Darcy. That anonymous source turned out to be someone close to TikTok.

Darcy also quoted TikTok spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide, who said in a statement:

“It’s troubling that rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States.”

Oliver Darcy, CNN’s “senior media reporter,” uses quotes and statements from those friendly to TikTok, but ignores that Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, whom I mentioned above, called the app “an enormous threat.” He also disregarded the fact that Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, co-sponsored the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act with Rubio. Darcy apparently overlooked the inconvenient fact that last month FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about the threat that TikTok presents.

But if Republicans sponsor bills to ban the app, and especially if former President Trump also wanted a ban, then CNN must oppose them. Because … the GOP. And because Trump.


If Not TikTok, Then What’s An Alternative?

TikTok is rapidly growing in popularity; Statista estimates that in the United States there are currently 94 million users. A good chunk of them are young adults, who use the social media app in their quest to become “influencers.”

Not only that, but the popular Substack “Libs of TikTok” has laid bare the influence of far-woke teachers in American classrooms. And now that Elon Musk is in charge, “Libs of TikTok” has returned in full force to Twitter.

But there are plenty of alternatives if TikTok should get the heave-ho courtesy of Congress.

Firewall Authority listed ten top apps where young media users can get their video fix — and they’re free, too. They’re also available on both the Android and iOS platforms. These include names I’ve never heard of, like Dubsmash, Lomotif, MuStar, along with the more familiar Instagram Reels, YouTube, and Snapchat. Where there’s a vacuum in the social media world, there will be tech nerds ready to fill in the void with their latest offerings. It won’t take long for Millennials and Gen Z to adapt to new technology, either.

It’s high time for TikTok to be gone. Good on Josh Hawley for the fine start to get the app banned from government devices. Now let’s follow up with that bill by Rubio and Krishnamoorthi to rid the entire nation of this dangerous app.


Welcome, Instapundit readers! 

Featured image: Solen Feyissa/flickr/cropped/CC BY-SA 2.0.


Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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