Lawmakers Demand Answers on TikTok Children’s Scandal

( – China — to be clear, the government and not the citizenry — is considered America’s biggest enemy on the world stage by many, including some at the highest echelon of the US government. Recently, controversy has come up regarding the wildly popular app TikTok and its parent company ByteDance and how it came to be that a flood of phone calls from children swamped congressional offices.

How May We Direct Your Call?

Chairman John Moolenaar (R-MI) and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Il) of the Select Committee in the House of Representatives tasked with “assessing the threats to the economy and national security posed by [the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)]” sent a letter to the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the issue. They claim that users of TikTok, including children under the age of 13, received “intrusive and deceptive pop-up messages” that were looking for confidential information and a plea to help them before their chosen social media app became outlawed in the United States.

Allegedly, the message misrepresented the truth of the recently passed Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversaries Controlled Applications Act and gave their users a script to follow if they would kindly call their representative and ask them to oppose the then-bill. They even provided a button for users to push to place the call immediately, which then prompted a request for their ZIP Code (the aforementioned private info) so the call could be directed to the correct congressperson’s office automatically.

The letter specifically references an article from The Spectator website, which offered some very disturbing results from TikTok’s call to action. They report that one member of Congress got a message that said “I will kill you if you f—ing shut down TikTok,” which was one of a dozen or so death threats.

The article also recounts that many of the children — including some allegedly only six years old — interrupted their school day to make the call about the lethal consequences of a TikTok shutdown. However, the target would not be the politician or one of their aides but rather it would result in the caller committing suicide.

ByteDance was founded by its owner Zhang Yiming, a 41-year-old Chinese national with a net worth of more than US$43 billion who, along with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew (of Singapore) maintains that the main platform is “a private business.” However, as the group Human Rights Watch (HRW) points out, that’s a somewhat dubious claim since entrepreneurs who cross the people in Beijing frequently find themselves disappeared or the victim of a convenient heart attack or car accident.

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