The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill to ban U.S. federal employees from downloading the popular TikTok app on government devices, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Okla.) said in a press release today.
Reuters reported that the Senate passed a similar measure last August without opposition, and that U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Mich.) has introduced a similar bill in the House.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Texas) called TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, “an immediate security threat.
Hawley released a statement after the Senate vote stating, “This should not be a partisan issue, and I am pleased to see my Senate colleagues acting together to address Beijing’s covert data collection operations.”
On the other hand, the Italian data protection regulator noted today that they have asked TikTok to strengthen measures to prevent young users from using the platform. This comes after TikTok has removed 500,000 users under the age of 13 in nearly three months.
TikTok reached an agreement with Italian authorities in February after a 10-year-old girl allegedly choked to death after taking part in TikTok’s “coma challenge,” which included a ban on all users claiming to be under the age of 13.
The regulator required TikTok to cancel any accounts associated with users under the age of 13 within 48 hours, making it more difficult for younger users to use TikTok and proactively stating that the platform is not available to children under 13.