Tech

A U.S. Ban on Chinese-Based Social Media Platforms Is Popular, Except Among Younger Voters

Lawmakers are pursuing bills that would ban Chinese-owned TikTok on government devices and the United States as a whole

A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that a slim majority of registered voters support a ban on Chinese-based social media platforms in the United States. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Following warnings from U.S. officials that TikTok — owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance Ltd. — poses national security risks due to its potential exploitation by the Chinese government, state and federal lawmakers have taken measures to ban use of the popular social media app.

As Chinese-based social media platforms like TikTok and WeChat face scrutiny in the United States, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey finds that a slim majority of registered voters support a ban on Chinese-based social media platforms in the United States, but younger voters are more divided on the proposal.

Slim Majority of Voters Support a Ban on Chinese-Based Social Media Platforms in the United States

The shares of voters who said they support or oppose congressional action to ban Chinese-based social media platforms for the following:

Survey conducted Dec. 16-19, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,001 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Republicans, baby boomer voters most likely to support the bans

  • The survey shows 53% of voters support a ban on Chinese-based social media platforms in the United States, while a slightly higher share (59%) support banning the platforms from government-issued devices.
  • Republicans were more likely than Democrats to support both proposals. Democratic voters were more likely to back the ban for government devices (56%) than the U.S. prohibition (48%).
  • The U.S. ban had strong support among baby boomer voters, with 2 in 3 backing it, while the proposal was more divisive among younger generations. Gen Z voters were slightly more likely to oppose (41%) than support (32%) such a ban, while another 28% didn’t know or had no opinion. Millennial voters were roughly split on the ban, with 39% supporting it and 34% opposing it.
  • The survey also asked voters about their support for the same bans but for Russian-based social media platforms. The share of voters who supported the measures for Russian platforms were roughly the same as those who backed the Chinese-based prohibitions.

TikTok bans going viral

In late November, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) issued an executive order that banned state employees and contractors from using TikTok on state-owned devices. Since then, nearly 20 states have followed suit in restricting government employees from using TikTok and other apps with potential ties to adversarial foreign governments. 

Congress is also getting involved, with one bill that would ban the use of TikTok on phones and devices issued by the federal government or a government corporation, and another piece of legislation that would ban the use of TikTok in the United States and also prohibit all transactions related to Russian- or Chinese-based social media companies. The first bill unanimously passed in the Senate and was added to a government spending package set for a vote this week.

It is unclear whether President Joe Biden would sign the bills into law, as his administration reportedly continues to carve out a national security agreement between TikTok and the United States that has been plagued by delays over several sticking points.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Dec. 16-19, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,001 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.