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US lawmakers move to ban TikTok amid China spying fears

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Three US lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill to ban popular social media app TikTok amid fears that the app could be used by China to spy on Americans and censure content.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Marco Rubio, his colleague Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, aims to block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia, Reuters reported.

It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good, Rubio said in a statement, while pointing out that the Biden administration is yet to take a “single meaningful action to protect American users from the threat of TikToK”.

The bill comes as scrutiny of TikTok has grown in the US in recent weeks over its parent company ByteDance’s ability to safeguard data from the Chinese government, after a failed bid by the Trump administration to ban the video-sharing app.

In 2020, then President Donald Trump attempted to block new users from downloading TikTok and ban other transactions that would have effectively blocked the apps’ use but lost a series of court battles and the ban could not be imposed.

TikTok had previously said it doesn’t share information with the Chinese government and that a US-based security team decides who can access US user data from China. It reiterated the same on Tuesday and called it a “politically-motivated ban”.

“It is 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,” a TikTok official was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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