The possibility that the popular TikTok app will be banned in the US is closer today after the House of Representatives voted to restrict the social network.
The representatives voted 336-71 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Law, which includes an amendment that prohibits TikTok from all federal devices.
Colorado Rep Ken Buck proposed adding TikTok after calling the app a “serious threat to national security.”
The company’s data collection could be used in a cyberattack if shared with the Chinese government, Buck said. Most US Army corps have already banned the use of TikTok for similar reasons.
The prohibition does not necessarily have to become law. The Senate has yet to pass it this week, and both sides of Congress will have to reconcile their bills before they can receive the President’s signature. The ban may be altered or removed in the process.
If the law prohibits access to TikTok, it could bring the US closer to a broader ban on the service. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the government is “evaluating” the ban on general access to Chinese social media apps, and a federal move against TikTok would encourage this possibility.
TikTok defends that it does not share data from its application with the Chinese government. Its parent company ByteDance has an equivalent application, Douyin, within the borders of China. TikTok has set out to hire an American CEO and distance itself from ByteDance’s Chinese operations.
Whatever happens, increases the pressure on popular apps. India recently banned TikTok and 59 other apps due to its dispute with China, and also cited security as a factor.