GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – TikTok’s time is up, according to U.S. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher.
The two lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would ban the popular app due to safety and privacy concerns.
“Everyone uses TikTok and it’s just a fun way for people to communicate between each other,” Quentin Diboundje, an East Carolina University sophomore said of the app.
Although there has been conversation about banning TikToT since the Trump administration, Rubio and Gallagher have now officially put forth legislation that would create a national ban on the app.
“It’s really curious how he’s breaking out with this big pronouncement at this time,” Brian Massey, an ECU communications professor said. “I’m not sure why he would do that given the history. It’s not a new idea.”
According to the Washington Post, the Chinese-owned app can track a user’s location and collect internet-browsing data, even when users are not actively on the app.
TikTok is said to have also censored references to politically sensitive topics.
Though he says the concerns for safety and privacy are valid, Massey believes there’s a bigger issue that needs addressing.
“There might be truth with that kind of concern but broadly, the danger of TikTok is just the distraction that it has on young people and old people. It’s like television, it’s a time-waster,” Massey said.
Diboundje also says the benefits of the app outweigh the concerns.
“It’s a good way to… if you want to start your own brand, or get famous, or make some money. It’s a good side hustle.”
The likelihood of the ban is slim, but experts say if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives, they could pressure the president to force a sale of the company or come to another form of agreement to satisfy the privacy and safety concerns.
According to Rubio and Gallagher, as long as TikTok is connected to Beijing, it will continue to be a threat to the United States.
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