The Senate's unanimous passage of the No TikTok on Government Devices Act late Wednesday is a major victory in the fight against the Chinese-owned social media platform.
In a bid to clamp down on potential Chinese surveillance on American citizens, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the bill, citing the platform's security risks to the United States.
“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party,” Hawley said in a statement. “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.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray echoed Hawley's sentiments in a speech at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy earlier this month.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States. That should concern us,” Wray said.
The bill will need to be passed in the House and signed by President Joe Biden to become law.
In the meantime, several states have taken matters into their own hands, with Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts being the first state leader to ban the app on state devices in August 2020. At least ten states including Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah now have bans in place, with others considering similar policies.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok, but the order was never followed through. Biden revoked the order in 2021 and replaced it with his own directive to protect American data security.
Despite the push to ban TikTok, the app remains one of the most popular apps on both the iPhone and Android.