(StraightNews.org) — Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has said he will introduce legislation for a nationwide ban on TikTok in the United States. The Senator said the social media platform represents an intrusion into the privacy of the American people. He said the platform threatens our children’s privacy as well as their mental health.
Senator Hawley has a long record of campaigning against the Chinese social media giant. He was largely responsible for the 2022 ban on TikTok on government devices. He proposed this ban back in 2020 alongside fellow Republican Senator Rick Scott. It passed as part of the Omnibus spending bill in December.
TikTok is controversial partly because it allows for the collection of data from its users, and is closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The directors of the FBI and the CIA have both raised concerns about its use in America.
CIA Director William Burns has called TikTok a threat to national security. Burns said, “The Chinese government is able to insist upon extracting the private data of a lot of TikTok users in this country, and also to shape the content of what goes into TikTok as well, to suit the interests of the Chinese leadership.”
The video-sharing platform has more than a billion users worldwide and around 80 million in the United States. Approximately 60% of American users are aged between 16 and 24 and doctors have expressed concerns about their mental health. Dr. David Barnhart, a clinical mental health counselor at Behavioral Sciences of Alabama, said the platform creates and increases stress among users. He said it distorts young people’s self-image and encourages low self-esteem while distracting from healthy relationships with peers. Barnhart warns that young people are susceptible to addiction to the platform as the constant stimulation caused by exposure to rapid streams of videos distorts the brain’s reward center. “We are going to see more people in need of mental healthcare,” he said.
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