Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, revealed that the U.S. Congress will not address legislation this year aimed at providing the Biden administration with enhanced tools to manage national security concerns associated with foreign-owned apps, such as the popular short video platform TikTok.
Senator Cantwell informed Reuters on Thursday that discussions are ongoing, and she is actively working on legislation while engaging with federal agencies. She emphasized the collaborative effort to formulate effective measures that address the national security challenges posed by platforms like TikTok. The Senate recently conducted a secure briefing on these concerns, further highlighting the urgency of finding suitable solutions.
Efforts to empower Congress with greater authority to regulate or potentially ban TikTok, particularly due to its Chinese ownership, have encountered setbacks. Despite heightened worries about the app’s implications for national security, bills addressing the issue have stalled in Congress.
Senator Cantwell explained, “We’re really trying to get people to come up with something that they feel like accomplishes the task.” The complexity of the matter requires careful consideration and collaboration with various stakeholders, including federal agencies.
Notably, some analysts speculate that Congress and the White House are unlikely to pursue a TikTok ban in 2024, an election year, owing to the platform’s immense popularity among young voters. TikTok boasts over 150 million users in the United States alone, making it a significant platform for engaging with younger demographics.
Despite concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned app, TikTok has consistently denied any improper use of U.S. data. The House Foreign Affairs Committee took a stance in March, voting along party lines on a bill aimed at TikTok. Democrats argued that the proposed legislation would compel the administration to effectively ban TikTok and other subsidiaries of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. However, the bill has yet to be taken up by the entire U.S. House.