U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI)
November 10, 2022
The United States is locked in a new Cold War with the Chinese Communist Party, one that senior military advisers warn could turn hot over Taiwan at any time. Yet millions of Americans increasingly rely on TikTok, a Chinese social media app exposed to the influence of the CCP, to consume the news, share content and communicate with friends….
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is not a state-owned enterprise, but in China, no company is truly private. Under the country’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all citizens and businesses are required to assist in intelligence work, which includes sharing data….
[ByteDance’s] ownership of TikTok is problematic for two reasons. First, the app can track cellphone users’ locations and collect internet-browsing data — even when users are visiting unrelated websites…. With this app, Beijing could…collect sensitive national security information from U.S. government employees and develop profiles on millions of Americans to use for blackmail or espionage….
Even more alarming than that possibility, however, are the potential abuses of TikTok’s algorithm…. TikTok has already censored references to politically sensitive topics, including the treatment of workers in Xinjiang, China, and the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square….
TikTok is a major threat to U.S. national security. Yet Biden is encouraging greater engagement with the platform by directly courting TikTok influencers. Furthermore, reports suggest that he is nearing a deal that would authorize TikTok’s continued operation in the United States without any change in ownership….
Unless TikTok and its algorithm can be separated from Beijing, the app’s use in the United States will continue to jeopardize our country’s safety and pave the way for a Chinese-influenced tech landscape here…. This is why we’re introducing legislation which would ban TikTok and other social media companies that are effectively controlled by the CCP from operating in the United States….