Bipartisan support exists in Congress for the new RESTRICT Act, which could grant the federal government enormous control over how we use the internet. Critics have said that this extremely broad legislation can be interpreted in a variety of ways and that this is open season for government interference in private communications. It has been described as one of the biggest power grabs in US history and allows the government to use “any mitigation measure to address any risk.”
Although the legislation is being marketed as a plan to outlaw TikTok in the US, it actually goes far further. In the US, TikTok is a rising problem, and politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have spoken out. Representatives recently questioned CEO Shou Zi Chew about the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party at a hearing in Congress.
Chew claimed that the CCP held no authority within the organization, but many lawmakers disregarded this assertion on the grounds that the CCP is closely linked to all Chinese corporations. Some former TikTok employees have even claimed that the two are so intertwined that it is difficult to distinguish where one ends and the other begins.
Another ex-employee claimed that the communist party was consulted for important decisions by the company’s executives.
The ability of the video-sharing software to collect data and its effects on young people’s mental health are the two main areas of concern. Strong algorithms expose young, frequently vulnerable children to a flood of more extreme content, including suggestions and instructions for suicide.
In the US, UK, and EU, the software has already been blocked on official devices, and other nations have outright forbidden its use.
Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA) presented the RESTRICT Act, which has the support of both parties. It was created with input from the National Security Council of the White House and has received acclaim from President Biden.