Josh Hawley Unveils Bill to Ban TikTok Nationwide

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging
NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images,Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would ban TikTok on American devices and ban commercial activity from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.

“TikTok poses a threat to all Americans who have the app on their devices,” Hawley said in a written statement on Wednesday. “It opens the door for the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location through aggressive data harvesting. Banning it on government devices was a step in the right direction, but now is the time to ban it nationwide to protect the American people.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced the House version of the legislation. He said in a statement:

TikTok is a clear threat to our privacy and national security. Not only is TikTok directly associated with the Chinese Communist Party, but it has been used to spy on Americans and gain an alarming level of access to users’ phones. This should concern every citizen who values their privacy, security, and personal information. Banning CCP tied TikTok nationwide is the only route to ending this malicious cybersecurity threat. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Sen. Josh Hawley to ensure that every Americans’ privacy and security is protected from hostile foreign entities.

The bill, formally known as the No TikTok on United States Devices Act, according to Hawley’s office, would:

  • Direct the President to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) within 30 days to block and prohibit transactions with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, with stiff penalties for entities that attempt to evade these sanctions.
  • Within 120 days of enactment, require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report and brief Congress on the threats to national security posed by TikTok, including:
    • The ability of the Chinese government to access U.S. user data.
    • The ability of the Chinese government to use U.S. user data for intelligence or military purposes, including surveillance, microtargeting, deep fakes, or blackmail.
    • Ongoing efforts by the Chinese government to monitor or manipulate Americans using data accessed via TikTok.

Hawley teased on Tuesday that he would introduce the legislation to ban TikTok, saying the app violates Americans’ privacy.

Hawley’s legislation to ban Tiktok on government devices was included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that was passed in late December, a rare bright spot for conservatives in the mammoth 4,155-page bill.

Hawley and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) first introduced their bill to ban TikTok on government devices in March 2020.

Since Hawley and Scott proposed their legislation to ban TikTok on federal government devices, many states, such as GeorgiaMontanaAlabama, and Iowa, have moved to ban the controversial Chinese social media app from their state government devices.

Tech experts such as FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr have called to ban TikTok, arguing that it is sending Americans’ private data to China.

“It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing. I’ve called on Apple & Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices,” Carr said in June 2022.

“Tiktok’s pattern of misrepresentations coupled with its ownership by an entity beholden to the CCP has resulted in U.S. military branches and national security agencies banning it from government devices. Bipartisan leaders in both the Senate and House have flagged concerns,” Carr added.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.