- Florida Senate committee approves a bill to ban TikTok on government devices and Wi-Fi networks, citing security concerns.
- The proposed ban aligns with the national conversation in Washington, where lawmakers questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on data security and harmful content.
- TikTok faces increasing scrutiny over its data practices and potential foreign influence, as it seeks to address concerns and maintain its U.S. presence.
As tensions rise in Washington D.C. over TikTok’s data security and harmful content, Florida lawmakers on the Florida Senate Fiscal Policy Committee in Tallahassee approved a measure today that would ban the Chinese-owned social media platform on Florida’s government devices and Wi-Fi networks. The bill, filed by State Senator Danny Burgess, now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The proposed ban mirrors the concerns being addressed in Washington, where U.S. lawmakers grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in a tense committee hearing.
The Florida bill (SB 258) directs the state Department of Management Services to create a list of prohibited applications that it considers security risks, including TikTok and WeChat.
“If you’re on government Wi-Fi, you wouldn’t be able to pull it down,” Burgess said. “We’re gonna prohibit that from being accessible. But if you’re on your own 5G, that’s different.”
Congress has also passed a measure aimed at removing TikTok from federal-government devices, while Burgess called Tik Tok’s platforms “literal spyware apps.”
In Washington, Chew defended TikTok during a rare public appearance before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He assured lawmakers that the popular video-sharing app prioritizes user safety and is not a national security risk, but his testimony was received with skeptism from Congress.
Chew reiterated the company’s plan to protect U.S. user data by storing it on servers maintained and owned by software giant Oracle.
The Florida bill’s progress and the national scrutiny on TikTok’s practices highlight the growing concern over data security and the potential influence of foreign governments on social media platforms. The debate around TikTok’s future in the United States is expected to continue as the company seeks ways to address these concerns and maintain its presence in the American market.