U.S. lawmakers consider changes to TikTok crackdown bill, says senator

U.S. lawmakers consider changes to TikTok crackdown bill, says senator

The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who cosponsored the bill on Monday, said that U.S. legislators are considering changes in order to address concerns over a bill which would give the Biden Administration new powers to prohibit Chinese-owned TikTok.

Mark Warner, a Democratic Senator from the United States, told Reuters the aggressive lobbying of ByteDance's short video app TikTok in opposition to the Restrict Act had "slowed down our momentum" since it was introduced.

Warner said that lawmakers had "a proposal for a series amendments" to clarify the issue and respond to criticisms such as that individuals could be affected or that this bill represents an expansion of government powers.

Warner stated, "We can address those concerns fairly."

The White House-endorsed legislation would give the Commerce Department new authorities to review, block and address transactions that involve foreign information and communication technology and pose national security threats.

Warner added that at first it appeared to be "almost too easy" for the bill to pass.

TikTok didn't immediately respond to an inquiry for comment about Warner's assessment on its lobbying.

In March, Republican senator Rand Paul stopped a move to speed up a separate bill that would have banned TikTok. The bill was introduced by Senator Josh Hawley who claimed the Restrict Act did not ban TikTok. It gives the president an entire new set of powers."

In March, the Biden administration demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their shares or face a U.S. Ban. The U.S. courts blocked attempts by Donald Trump, then president of the United States, to ban TikTok in 2020.

Warner said that there have been many conversations about the bill. He added that it could be included in an annual defense legislation or as part of a China related bill pushed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

He said that the need for legislation was clear.

Warner added: "There are three or four other apps that were released that were controlled by China. We need to have a fair process based on rules rather than a one-off approach."

TikTok is used by over 150 million Americans. The company says that it has invested more than $1.5 Billion in rigorous data security measures and denies any allegations of spying.