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TikTok-ing time bomb

Senate unanimously agrees to ban TikTok on government devices

The Senate has passed a bill banning federal employees from downloading TikTok on government-issued devices. This is largely due to the ongoing security concerns associated with the app. 

The No TikTok on Government Devices Act, sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), passed unanimously. Both parties have cited concerns over the app's owner ByteDance Ltd., which is based in Beijing, reports The Wall Street Journal. TikTok is currently the world's most popular social media application and has been suspected of stealing people's personal data. In a statement, Hawley said, "until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices" referring to the app.

In response to the move, a representative from TikTok commented that the bill, "does nothing to advance U.S. national security interests," and urged the government to "move forward on an agreement that would actually address [Hawley's] concerns." A companion bill has also been introduced in the House, which has yet to be voted on. 

This bill comes just a day after three senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), introduced a bill completely banning the app in the U.S. because of China's control over the app's data. This bill has not been passed. In addition, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) is to lead a new select panel on China in the new Congress, per Politico

He said in an interview, "It is time that we do something to stop TikTok from becoming the most powerful media company in America."