The House Foreign Affairs Committee has voted to give President Biden the power to ban TikTok, stepping up scrutiny of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.
Lawmakers voted 24 to 16 along party lines to give the Biden administration new authority to ban TikTok and other apps deemed security risks.
GOP committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who sponsored the bill, called TikTok a “threat to national security.”
“Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the (Chinese Communist Party) a backdoor to all of their personal information,” McCaul said. “It’s a spy balloon on their phone.”
CHINA IMPLICATIONS TIKTOK BAN ON US GOVERNMENT DEVICES, ASKS WHY ‘TOP SUPERPOWER’ FEARS ‘NEWS IMPLEMENTATION’
It was not clear how the ban would be enforced. The bill would give the president the power to ban any transactions with TikTok, which would, in turn, prevent anyone in the US from downloading the ByteDance-owned app to their phones.
Democrats oppose the bill, saying it needs more due diligence and debate on its specifications. Civil liberties groups have argued that the bill is unconstitutional.
Before going to Biden’s desk, the bill still needs votes from the full House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Meanwhile, TikTok said on Wednesday that any account owned by a user under the age of 18 will have a default daily screen time limit of 60 minutes in the coming weeks.
In the US, families are struggling to limit the time their children spend on the Chinese-owned video sharing app. According to the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of American teenagers use TikTok.
In addition to overuse by some minors, there is growing concern about the app around the world. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU have banned the installation of TikTok on official devices.
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This follows similar actions taken by the US federal government, Congress and more than half of the 50 US states. Canada has also banned it from government devices.
FOX Business has reached out to TikTok and the White House for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.