House Republican picked to lead new China panel says delete TikTok app

ByteDance-TikTok
FILE – This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York. President Donald Trump will order China’s ByteDance to sell its hit video app TikTok because of national-security concerns, according to reports published Friday, July 31, 2020. “We are looking at TikTok,” Trump told reporters Friday at the White House. “We may be banning TikTok.” (AP Photo/File) AP

House Republican picked to lead new China panel says delete TikTok app

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People should delete the popular social media platform TikTok due to its ties to the Chinese government, according to a top House Republican.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who has been selected to lead a new congressional committee dedicated to the U.S.-China relationship, admitted in a Sunday interview on CNN that “we don’t know” whether the Chinese government is using the app to harm U.S. children but said the risk was too great regardless.

The “fundamental problem” is that TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, is “effectively controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. … So the question we have to ask is whether we want to give the CCP the ability to track our location, track what websites we visit, even when we’re not using the TikTok app itself.”

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He also expressed concerns about the app censoring certain types of media and news, considering it’s growing into a platform to which users go for news.

“Since a large percentage of young Americans use TikTok to get their news, whether we want them to have the ability to selectively edit that news,” Gallagher explained. “It’s as if in 1958 — given that TikTok is on the cusp of becoming the most powerful media company in America — we would have allowed the KGB and Pravda to buy the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, all combined. I think this is a bad idea.”

“The ability to edit the news, I just think, is a massive tool and weapon that we don’t want to give the CCP,” he added.

While the concerns about the app aren’t new, there has been recent movement on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country.

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The Senate passed a bill last week that would ban the app on government-owned devices, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s support for adding similar language to a must-pass government funding bill this week.

The push to ban TikTok on government devices at the federal level comes as at least 11 states have pursued the same. New Hampshire, Wyoming, Georgia, Oklahoma, Maryland, Alabama, South Dakota, Utah, South Carolina, Texas, and Iowa issued bans on using the app on government devices in recent weeks, while Nebraska blocked the application on government devices in August 2020. Indiana sued the company last week, arguing the app exposes children to harmful content.

Gallagher, who was named as the chairman of the select committee on China by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is seeking the speakership in the next Congress, also said that the goal of the committee is “to identify where Congress can speak with one voice when it comes to the policy that best positions us to when this long term competition with the CCP.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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