Republican Leader Mitch McConnell Pushes For Legislation To Compel Chinese Divestment Of TikTok: '... An Enormous Threat To America's Children'

Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate Republican Leader, has called for legislation that would compel the parent company of TikTok, China’s ByteDance, to divest the popular short video app.

What Happened: On Monday, McConnell urged for the divestment of TikTok’s parent company, citing the potential threat it poses to the security of American children. He stated that this action would align with established constitutional precedent, reported Reuters.

“Requiring the divestment of Beijing-influenced entities from TikTok would land squarely within established constitutional precedent,” McConnell said, adding, “it would begin to turn back the tide of an enormous threat to America's children.”

He also called the short-form video hosting service “America's greatest strategic rival is threatening our security right here on U.S. soil in tens of millions of American homes.”

See Also: TikTok Is Coming For Instagram With A Photo Gallery Feature, But Will That Be Enough To Rise To The Top With International Bans

On the other hand, Maria Cantwell, the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, informed reporters on the same day that she plans to convene with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner. She stated that they will formulate a strategy for moving forward following these discussions.

Why It Matters: The U.S. House of Representatives had previously voted 352-65 on March 13 to give ByteDance approximately six months to divest the U.S. assets of TikTok or face a ban.

This move was met with mixed reactions, with some, like billionaire Mark Cubansupporting the ban due to concerns over foreign influence on American children. In contrast, others, like former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbardraised concerns about the potential impact on freedom of speech and social media operations.

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McConnell’s call for legislation comes amid growing concerns about the potential national security risks posed by TikTok. The app’s Chinese ownership has raised fears that the Chinese government could compel TikTok to share American user data, a claim that the platform has vehemently denied.

“A ban on TikTok would violate the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans,” TikTok said on Friday. The social media platform has previously revealed that it spent over $1.5 billion on the effort to protect U.S. data and house it in the country.

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Read Next: Dangerous TikTok Trends That Went Viral: The Risks And Consequences

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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