Every day, more than 150 million people in the U.S. use the app TikTok to share videos. Some of these people are middle schoolers making dance videos, but others are American lawmakers who use the platform to share informative and influential videos with their followers. This is happening even in states that have banned a controversial app whose parent company, ByteDance, is close to the Chinese Communist Party and probably shares user information with them.
Michigan Governor Still Uses TikTok, Despite State Ban
Since March 1, 2023, TikTok has not been allowed on state devices in Michigan. However, employees had been told not to use the video app since March 2020. But the law makes exceptions for law enforcement, cybersecurity, and people who use it for advertising. Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) still uses the app often because of this last loophole.
Her account, @BigGretchWhitmer, has more than 3 million likes and more than 200,000 people who follow it. Jayson Cavendish, Michigan’s acting chief security officer, told MLive that this kind of use is fine because the device she has the app on is fully secure and doesn’t connect to the government’s network or the wireless internet.
Congressman AOC Promotes App Usage
As Congress holds hearings to learn more about TikTok and its possible risks to national security, federal lawmakers are also speaking out. This month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, joined TikTok for the first time. In her first video, she spoke out against a complete ban. She thinks that instead of just going after TikTok, lawmakers should focus on making rules about data protection that apply to more companies.
Congress to Vote on TikTok Ban
After TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew talked about the app in front of Congress, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted:
It's very concerning that the CEO of TikTok can't be honest and admit what we already know to be true—China has access to TikTok user data.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 26, 2023
The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.
This is happening at the same time that Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is working on a bill that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban this app and similar ones in the future. He has said that the President of the United States would sign the bill if it passes both houses of Congress.
On Wednesday, March 29, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) tried to get his fellow lawmakers to vote on a full ban on TikTok, but Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was against the idea. Paul told the Associated Press that this would be against the Constitution because “speech is protected whether you like it or not.” These are just two of many bills that try to block or ban TikTok and similar apps. But no law will go into effect if lawmakers can’t agree on one and send it to Biden to sign.