(RightWing.org) – Bipartisan consensus regarding the risks posed by the Chinese-based video-sharing platform TikTok continues building. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently called the social media company a “tool… ultimately within the control of the Chinese government,” adding it “screams out with national security concerns,” according to Reuters. TikTok’s CEO recently appeared before congress for the first time to address those concerns.
On March 23, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled Shou Zi Chew about the possible risks to American security interests presented by its China-based parent company, ByteDance.
Committee Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) held nothing back during her opening statement. Rodgers said she didn’t think TikTok would “ever embrace American values” and called for a complete ban of the social media platform in the United States.
I do NOT trust that TikTok will ever embrace American values—values for freedom, human rights, and innovation.
TikTok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation.
It should be banned. pic.twitter.com/gyO8ltsOC3
— CathyMcMorrisRodgers (@cathymcmorris) March 23, 2023
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) also lashed out at Chew during the hearing. In one instance, she skewered the TikTok head’s claim that he hadn’t seen any evidence the Chinese government had accessed American TikTok users’ data, calling his assertion “preposterous.”
TikTok CEO on Americans’ Data: “I have seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to that data.”
REP. ESHOO: “I find that, actually, preposterous.”
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) March 23, 2023
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), the ranking Democrat on the committee, echoed the sentiment. He tore into Chew, accusing him of “trying to give the impression” TikTok was moving away from Chinese Communist Party officials but failing to provide the actual commitments to correct the problem sought by American lawmakers.
Several US Senators also spoke out against the app after the hearing. For example, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called the video site a threat to national security. He also warned that the company was the only social media platform “completely controlled by the Communist Party of China.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blasted the congressional testimony of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday, accusing him of lying and calling the popular video app a "national security threat." https://t.co/KY4etsqPwj pic.twitter.com/J1IoNzqi9X
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 24, 2023
There are mounting calls for new legislation addressing the ongoing threat posed by technology companies controlled by foreign adversaries. On March 7, Senators Mark Warner (R-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act (S.686). Thune explained in a press release that the bill would establish a mechanism to help Commerce Department officials “identify and mitigate foreign threats” posed by Big Tech platforms “like TikTok.”
Ten Republicans and nine Democrats co-sponsored the bill, including powerhouse senators like Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Likewise, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco support S.686.
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