The Senate crackdown on TikTok is gaining momentum as House prepares to question the company’s CEO

Efforts to restrict TikTok are gathering momentum in the Senate, and House lawmakers are preparing to question the company’s CEO as the China-founded app runs out of time to convince federal lawmakers to stop its activities to restrict.

Two Republican senators authored a new plan to withhold taxpayers’ money from supporting TikTok’s business partners, while bipartisan legislation authorizing the Biden administration to ban the app recruited six more senators on Friday.

Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Joni Ernst of Iowa proposed the No Funds for Enablers of Adversarial Propaganda Act to prevent Americans from subsidizing people doing business with TikTok and social media companies that do business with China, Cuba , Iran, Russia, North Korea and others are linked to Venezuela.

Mr Rubio said companies taking ad money from TikTok, like US airports, are either “naïve, greedy or both”.

“They shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer money for accepting money from TikTok or collaborating with TikTok,” Mr Rubio said in a statement. “These companies must stop enabling Chinese Communist Party propaganda and espionage efforts.”

The bill is aimed at any individual or entity that has a contractual agreement, partnership or advertising relationship with social media companies based in certain countries, which applies to TikTok due to its connection to China.

TikTok has previously pointed out that its parent company is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, but Mr Rubio and Ms Ernst’s bill will not allow companies to circumvent the law by relocating their headquarters. The draft law applies to companies that have their principal place of business in an affected country or that are organized under the laws of such countries.

TikTok has attempted to create a new entity, TikTok US Data Security, which the company claims is being separated from China’s gaze. The US government is still not satisfied, and President Biden signed legislation in December that will force TikTok to be removed from government devices.

Mr Biden has not made a formal decision on a broader ban on TikTok, although his government has reportedly increased private pressure on ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok or stand by as the popular app is banned.

To ensure Mr. Biden’s team has the legal authority to impose a ban, Sens. Mark Warner, a Democrat of Virginia, and John Thune, a Republican of South Dakota, joined 10 other senators earlier this month to launch a Process to review and restrict technology platforms such as Tiktok.

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act would task the Department of Commerce with lead reviews of technologies like TikTok and determine if they pose a risk within 180 days.

If the department determines there is a national security risk and seeks a ban on the technology, the bill directs the Commerce Department to work with intelligence agencies to release information explaining the government’s actions.

Mr. Warner and Mr. Thune announced Friday that six other senators, three Republicans and three Democrats, signed their proposal, which also received the White House blessing of public praise from National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

As the Senate prepares to crack down, the House Energy and Trade Committee is scheduled to question TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday.

However, the congressional barbecue may not be the end of difficult questions for the company’s top executive. The FBI and Justice Department are investigating allegations that ByteDance used TikTok to monitor Americans, according to Forbes.

TikTok referred questions about the matter to ByteDance, which said it had fined those responsible at ByteDance, which ByteDance said it was no longer employed.

“Our internal investigation is ongoing and we will cooperate with any official investigations if they are brought to us,” ByteDance spokeswoman Jennifer Banks said in an email.

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