Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, suggested a potential national ban on the viral video platform, TikTok, should he claim the presidency. His concerns about the app primarily revolve around its security risks and addictive nature, particularly for younger users.
"I am inclined to not want TikTok in the United States," DeSantis said in remarks to the Wall Street Journal in a Tuesday interview, Fox Business reported. "I think it's creating a security vulnerability for us. I think they are mining a lot of data."
Despite his concern for the app's potential dangers, especially to the younger generation, DeSantis, a father of three, isn't throwing his support behind the Restrict Act. This bipartisan Senate bill seeks to arm the president with the power to control the threats posed by tech products from hostile countries, including China.
"At the end of the day, I don't want big brother to be getting into everybody's apps," DeSantis said. "It's about vulnerabilities to our country."
The Restrict Act, proposed by Senators Jon Thune (R-S.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) in March, emerged from shared concerns about TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, based in China. The proposed legislation would empower the president (via the secretary of commerce) to investigate and potentially ban tech products from six nations perceived as adversaries: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
The legislation would apply to existing hardware, software, and mobile apps, and extend to previously uncovered areas such as AI products and services, FinTech, quantum communications, and e-commerce.
TikTok has faced bans on state-owned devices by several governors across the political spectrum, with the federal government mirroring this move in February. DeSantis himself signed a bill in February banning TikTok and other Chinese apps from Florida's educational and governmental servers.
In response, TikTok has claimed that a nationwide ban would equate to censoring millions of Americans, blocking the "export of American culture and values" to its global user base, which exceeds a billion.
Continuing his tough stance against China, DeSantis announced his "declaration of economic independence" recently. This set of policy suggestions, he believes, would help the U.S. regain economic control from China and achieve a 3% GDP growth target. His proposals include banning imports of Chinese goods made from stolen intellectual property, bolstering protections against child and forced labor, and revising China's preferential trade status.