TikTok, the popular social media giant, has recently come under increasing scrutiny from prominent GOP lawmakers following a relevant hashtag gaining traction this week that referenced the late al-Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
Reports of the hashtag went viral on Tuesday, with many users across the app arguing that the posted hashtag runs counter to the basic American values of patriotism and respect for the country’s leaders. In response, numerous Republican lawmakers have added their voices to the chorus of those calling for the app to be banned outright.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was one of the first to take action, posting on Twitter that “TikTok should be banned in the United States,” adding that “it’s not worth potential national security risks” associated with the platform.
Other Republicans, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio and ten members of the House Judiciary Committee, have also expressed their intention to support any ban. Rubio voiced his concern over potential election meddling by Chinese state actors using the app, as well as the potential for exploitation of children by online predators.
The call for bans comes shortly after the app was reportedly researching new features that would monitor users’ political activities, further raising privacy and security concerns. TikTok has defended itself against the accusations, claiming that any information regarding users’ political activities would never be shared with the Chinese government or other third parties.
Nevertheless, Republican lawmakers have made it clear that the safety and security of the public is paramount, and they appear to be taking any necessary steps to ensure the protection of American citizens. The proposed ban on TikTok should serve as a reminder that it is more important than ever to be conscious of the risks posed by social media platforms.