To improve public awareness of potential concerns related to the Chinese ownership of TikTok, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn are pushing for the declassification of the app’s briefings. 

They draw attention to worries about national security, describing TikTok as a “weapon” in China’s hands.

Growing momentum for forced sale of TikTok

The case for a forced TikTok sale is becoming stronger in the wake of secret briefings given to Congress. Quickly after, the House enacted a bill requiring ByteDance to stop using TikTok or risk being banned in the US. Intelligence agencies briefed senators, raising concerns about possible surveillance and data sharing.

Concrete proof of TikTok’s exploitation of data is still hard to come by, despite warnings. Privacy experts doubt that the prohibition actually protects privacy or limits content that some people find objectionable. Beyond TikTok, worries surround more general tech practices and show how difficult it is to distinguish between individual problems and broader concerns.

Senators call for immediate Senate action

Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Warner stress the need for prompt action to address the possible risks associated with TikTok and push for the public release of briefing materials. However, while politicians look for a deeper understanding and weigh the ramifications for national security, free speech and privacy, Senate action may be delayed.

With discussions on privacy, free expression and national security gaining traction, the Senate will have difficulty reaching a consensus on laws related to TikTok. Still, with bipartisan support for the bill in the House shows it isn’t out of the question for the Senate to vote to ban the app under ByteDance.