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‘Trojan Horse’: Republicans Introduce Bill Prohibiting TikTok On Government Phones

By Thomas Catenacci

A group of Senate Republicans introduced legislation that would prohibit federal employees from downloading the Chinese social media app TikTok on all government-issued devices.

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley and Tim Scott introduced the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” bill on Thursday, the senators announced. The Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and Transportation Security Administration have already implemented internal bans on downloading the Chinese-developed app.

“There is absolutely no reason why this application, which Beijing can use to advance its malign foreign policy initiatives, should be utilized on federal devices,” Rubio, who is the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement. “In its current form, this platform is not safe.”

Hawley characterized TikTok as a “Trojan Horse” for the Chinese Communist Party in a statement. 

Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order in August completely banning TikTok in the U.S. citing national security concerns. In the aftermath of the executive action, experts agreed that the popular social media app could be used by the Chinese government to push propaganda and collect American users’ data.

However, the ban has faced significant roadblocks in court and, as a result, it hasn’t been implemented. President Joe Biden’s administration is currently conducting a review of the Trump-era ban, officials told a court in February, The Washington Post reported.

Sen. Scott said Thursday that the Chinese government has proven that it will “stop at nothing” to infiltrate U.S. government cyber networks and steal American technology.

“We cannot allow federal employees to jeopardize U.S. government networks and national security by using apps like TikTok, which are connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” Scott said in a statement.

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