Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress introduced a bill that would ban the Chinese-owned social media platform called TikTok nationwide.
TikTok is directly tied the Chinese Communist Party, as TikTok’s parent company ByteDance lists Chinese state media outlets in its employment history. Further, 50 former Chinese state media employees currently hold positions at TikTok, including a “content strategy manager” who had served as chief correspondent for China’s Xinhua News.
Director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies James Lewis believes the Chinese government is using information they get from TikTok to “better tailor their propaganda for a Western audience.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-CD8), and Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-CD8) are leading the charge to ban TikTok due to its communist ties.
In a press release, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher wrote:
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Communist Party—America’s foremost adversary.
Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up The New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War. No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”
The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act aims to “protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia, and several other foreign countries of concern.”
China’s national intelligence law requires Chinese tech companies to give any data they collect from users to China’s government. American researchers have been voicing privacy and security concerns about the app for years.
TikTok has even engaged in illegal activity to collect users’ data. In 2019, the social media platform was fined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for illegally “collecting and exposing locations of young children, as well as failing to delete information on underage children when instructed to do so.”
In 2020, TikTok found an iPhone system loophole and collected personal user data, including cryptocurrency wallet addresses and passwords. In 2021, TikTok was sued for transferring copious amounts of private user data to China.
Rep. Krishnamoorthi noted that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to gain any advantage “against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance.” Therefore, it’s vital that we ban social media networks controlled by this hostile power to prevent the platform, which collects data on tens of millions of Americans every day, from being weaponized against us.
To make matters worse, the app indoctrinates children with dangerous progressive ideas. Gender ideology activists are flooding TikTok with propaganda, causing children to cave to the social contagion of transgenderism and seek gender “transition” procedures.
Rep. Gallagher and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R), joined by four of their Wisconsin colleagues- Reps. Glenn Grothman, Scott Fitzgerald, Bryan Steil, and Tom Tiffany- called on Governor Evers to ban the TikTok app on any state-owned device. To date, Governor Evers has ignored the request. Such a move is not without precedent. Governors Kristi Noem (SD), Greg Abbott (TX), Henry McMaster (SC), Larry Hogan (MD), Kevin Stitt (OK), Pete Ricketss (NE), Spencer Cox (UT), and Kay Ivey (AL) have all taken such action.
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty earlier this month issued a report that “recaps the meteoric rise of the China-based social media app…and recounts the invasive ways that the software records data from its users.” The report recommends Wisconsin heed the warnings and take actions similar to these other states.
Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann recently banned TikTok on Washington County devices. This is the first, and to date, the only Wisconsin county to have taken such action. At the federal level, however, the U.S. House Administration Arm has banned TikTok on official devices. This is a good start, but we need to do more.
This federal bill is absolutely essential, and we are hopeful that Rep. Gallagher’s colleagues will agree. Closer to home, we need Governor Evers to take the warnings seriously and, at a minimum, prohibit the app on any government-issued device; and we need more counties to follow the example of Washington County. The Chinese Communist Party is a serious threat to the United States’ security and banning the Chinese-owned social media platform is common sense. In the meantime, parents should closely monitor their children’s social media use and ensure they stay off the app.
Gov. Evers announced that he will ban TikTok on government devices.
In response, Rep. Gallagher said, “TikTok is a CCP trojan horse that can track someone’s location, monitor their keystrokes, and collect other pieces of sensitive information about them. This app belongs nowhere near any part of our government and I’m glad Governor Evers finally made the decision to ban TikTok on state devices. Now that Governor Evers has recognized the threat posed by the app, I hope he will also delete his campaign’s TikTok account.”