Social media giants and big tech companies can expect more regulations in the new year. TikTok was under fire in the previous year, attracting the attention of Congress, which pushed to increase privacy regulations against the China-owned social media app.
Congress officially passed a bipartisan bill banning the use of TikTok on government-issued devices last month. This is amid concerns that the Chinese Communist Party could acquire data obtained through the app from U.S. users.
Despite assurances from TikTok that U.S. user data is not based in China, the bill has currently been passed in five states – Maryland, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Nebraska.
Congressman Mike Gallagher has even referred to the app as “digital fentanyl” while in conversation with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
A new bill, currently being introduced on a federal level, hopes to ban TikTok from the U.S. completely. The bill cites TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, which is required to disclose data to the Communist Party under Chinese law, as the main reason for this initiative.
“This isn’t about creative videos — this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day,” said Senator Marco Rubio in an official statement.
However, TikTok is not the only social media app under question.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen compared US social media regulation laws to 1965, stating for NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we are lagging behind.” Haugen named Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok as potentially problematic platforms, explaining that they all use similar algorithms and that regulators must push for more transparency.
She also cited the power of the tech lobby as a serious hurdle to regulations, explaining that strong, bipartisan bills could fall apart “within 24 hours.”
Although Congress passed a bipartisan consumer data privacy bill just last year, this is only the tip of the iceberg for what could be coming in 2023.