Rubio calls for new restrictions on Amazon’s Chinese rival TikTok Shop

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Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, is urging President Biden to block TikTok Shop from fully operating in the United States due to concerns that the Chinese platform poses a potential threat to Americans’ privacy and national security.

TikTok Shop is an e-commerce platform operated by the popular China-owned social media service and it is poised to compete with Amazon in the digital market. It’s already live in Britain and is reportedly being tested for the US market.

Concerns about Chinese influence and data collection on TikTok have led the Trump administration to seek a ban on the video app in the United States, and Mr. Rubio wants Mr. Biden to adopt the hawkish approach of former President Trump.

“The Biden administration has the power to stop TikTok from operating in America, and now they must use it,” Mr. Rubio said in a statement. “And if for some reason bureaucratic lawyers get in the way, President Biden should ask Congress for the necessary clearances. We cannot continue to let the companies run by the Chinese Communist Party invade and weaken our country. »

Mr Biden has taken a far less aggressive approach to TikTok than his predecessor. Last year, he revoked Mr. Trump’s executive order that sought to block transactions with TikTok owner ByteDance, and Mr. Biden replaced it with his own executive order.

Mr. Biden’s order established a new risk assessment framework on connected software applications, and the Commerce Department reviewed proposed rules that would define how the federal government seeks to protect Americans’ data on platforms like TikTok. , according to the Federal Register. The Commerce Department did not respond to a request for comment on its rules and whether the agency will interfere with the operation of TikTok Shop in the United States.

TikTok has also been subject to federal scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews business transactions for national security risks with input from seven federal departments and officials. of the White House. The National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment regarding CFIUS’ review of TikTok, but a council aide told the Washington Post in February that the review was still ongoing.

TikTok Shop poses a new challenge to its US tech competitors. While TikTok’s social app has positioned itself against Facebook and Instagram, the e-commerce platform is stepping into a different industry and would expand the China-based company’s influence in the Western market. TikTok did not respond to a request for comment on TikTok Shop and Mr. Rubio’s reviews.

Mr. Rubio has raised concerns about TikTok before, including in 2019 when he called for a federal review of the platform and last year when he called for a TikTok block.

In 2020, several federal government agencies banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices, including the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security.

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