Mar 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Some lawmakers undecided on their support for bill targeting TikTok

a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone

A TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone. Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Lawmakers from both parties say they are unsure whether they will support a new bill targeting TikTok in the U.S.

Why it matters: TikTok has been a hot-button political issue for years under both the Biden and Trump administrations amid concerns the Chinese-owned app could pose national security concerns.

The big picture: The new House bill would force TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest its ownership of the app within 165 days or see TikTok banned from app stores.

  • Members of Congress have been flooded with calls from constituents after TikTok warned users of a "total ban."
  • The bill's authors have denied the bill would be a complete ban on using the app in the U.S.

State of play: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he is "definitely conflicted" about the legislation and hasn't decided how he'll vote on it.

  • "Banning TikTok, maybe that's necessary to protect American data from China. But if you can find a way to avoid that, that'd be good, too," he said.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told the same program Sunday that he still needs to take a close look at the legislation before deciding how he'll vote.
  • "There are real privacy concerns. There are real security concerns. The question is: is there a way to meet those without banning a whole platform that millions of people like using?" Schiff asked.

During a joint appearance with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) on CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he still needed to read the bill in detail.

  • However, Rubio said that so long as ByteDance engineers control the platform's algorithm, they have access to American data, which poses a national security issue.
  • Warner said Biden's recent decision to join TikTok sent a "mixed message." Last month, Rubio called on Biden to delete his TikTok account.

Zoom out: The Biden campaign joined TikTok last month despite the fact that the president's administration has sought to regulate TikTok and even banned it from federal devices.

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