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Only one Nevada lawmaker opposed potential TikTok ban. Here’s why

Updated March 15, 2024 - 9:06 am

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford was the sole Nevada representative who voted against a potential TikTok ban on Wednesday.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved 352 to 65 a bill that would force TikTok to split from its China-based parent company or face a national ban.

Horsford, a Democrat who represents parts of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and the middle of Nevada, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday he voted against the bill because it singles out one social media platform out of many. He said it could have unintended consequences on those who use the platform.

About 28,000 small businesses in Nevada use TikTok to attract customers, according to Horsford. He said he is concerned about how a ban could affect their businesses as well as content creators who generate their own revenue with the app.

Congress should be working to put proper safeguards in place, Horsford said, “but it should be working across all platforms, foreign and domestic” to ensure that Congress is meeting its national security obligation while also addressing misinformation and maintaining the benefits for businesses and content creators.

The Nevada congressman posted his explanation on TikTok, saying that those who post on the app should be a part of the conversation.

In a statement, Horsford called the bill “rushed,” and said Congress should pass legislation dealing with data safety and security on all social media platforms.

“I take the threats to our national security seriously, and we must protect our citizens,” he said in a statement. “To truly accomplish that, we must have a thorough and deliberative debate examining all aspects of social media, not just targeting one company or user base.”

Nevada’s other representatives — Democrats Susie Lee and Dina Titus and Republican Mark Amodei — voted for the bill.

“As long as TikTok is Chinese- owned, our national security is at risk because the government of China — which views America as an enemy — has the ability to collect personal data on our kids and citizens,” Lee said in a statement to the Review-Journal.

She clarified that the bill does not ban TikTok but instead bans the Chinese government from accessing Americans’ personal information.

Titus said the Department of Justice, Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council have all articulated the threat ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, poses.

“ByteDance is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, allowing the Chinese government to harvest sensitive data and exploit users of the app,” she said in a statement. “For this reason, I supported the bill giving TikTok six months to divest funds from ByteDance.”

Amodei did not return a request for comment.

Nevada’s senators still deciding

The bill must be approved by the Senate, and Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen are still reviewing the legislation, according to their spokespeople.

“Senator Cortez Masto believes TikTok’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party are deeply concerning and that we need more information about how the app is distributing the large amounts of data it collects,” a spokesperson for Cortez Masto said in a statement to the Review-Journal.

Senator Rosen “believes that we must do more to protect Nevadans’ data from undue influence by the Chinese government and intrusion from foreign adversaries,” the spokesperson for Rosen said in a statement.

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Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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