Marco Rubio Called For TikTok Ban – It Isn’t Likely To Happen
By Peter Suciu
10 November 2022
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) was joined by U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) on Thursday in calling for a national ban on TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform that is increasingly popular with younger Americans. The lawmakers shared their opinion via an op-ed for The Washington Post.
At issue with Sen. Rubio and Rep. Gallagher is the fact that under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all of its citizens and businesses are required to assist in intelligence gathering, and must share any data with Beijing. The app can track a mobile phone’s location, and collect Internet-browsing data of the user. In addition, TikTok also censors politically sensitive topics, the lawmakers added, including the treatment of working conditions in Xinjiang, as well as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Due to its foreign ownership, the app is already banned for use on government devices, while the U.S. military has also discouraged service members from using it. Rubio and Gallagher would like to see a national ban on TikTok – along with any other social media companies that are controlled by China – from operating within the United States.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr has also called for a ban of the social media app.
The FCC’s Carr — who in June called upon Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores — told media outlets last week that he sees there is little confidence in a path forward besides a ban.
Yet, the FCC has no actual jurisdiction on the matter, and even if TikTok seen as a national security threat, the Pentagon doesn’t have international jurisdiction – points noted in a recent TechCrunch report. Neither Apple nor Google could be forced to remove the app from their respective stores, as Entner noted they’re protected by the First Amendment.
Even if the companies were to agree, a total ban would be almost impossible to enforce.
Perhaps the best course of action would be to educate users – especially those in uniform or in government service. Big Brother could be watching, and he may be living in Beijing!