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TikTok is digital fentanyl and Congress, Biden must act before it's too late

OpinionTikTok is digital fentanyl and Congress, Biden must act before it's too late

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TikTok is a national security threat to the United States of America. The social media juggernaut is a Chinese Communist Party-controlled program used to surveil more than 150 million Americans – both young and old. TikTok is Chinese spyware that allows the Chinese Communist Party to manipulate the minds of young Americans at will and compromises the privacy of millions of Americans.

It is essentially digital fentanyl, a 21st century technological weapon. The app is so potent and addictive that TikTok is banned within China. The version of TikTok approved for use in China is watered down, free of an algorithm set for addiction, and focused on educational purposes. Meanwhile, TikTok is the most popular social media for American teenagers, allowing the CCP to sow discord and feed the American people communist propaganda through their phones.

While TikTok’s data and algorithm is kept secret, the anecdotal evidence is clear: TikTok pushes content aligned with the CCP’s agenda. It’s no coincidence that TikTok was flooded with pro-Hamas and antisemitic videos in the aftermath of the October 7th attack. Given who holds the purse strings, it’s unsurprising that videos on the Uyghur genocide or Tiananmen Square are virtually impossible to find on TikTok.

Ultimately, the threat which TikTok poses to the security and privacy of Americans must be addressed before it’s too late.

BIDEN SAYS HE WOULD SIGN THE BIPARTISAN BILL BANNING CHINA-BASED APP TIKTOK

Fortunately, we’re not starting from square one. The Trump-Pence administration took historic action recognizing that China is the greatest economic and strategic threat facing the United States. We also set the stage for sweeping action to address TikTok as the national security and privacy threat that it is. In 2020, our administration issued an executive order intended to force the CCP to sell TikTok. 

 The era of appeasing the Chinese Communist Party is over. The Trump-Pence administration was the first to confront the threat posed by TikTok, and I will never falter in my commitment to confronting China at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, the Biden-Harris administration revoked that executive order soon after taking office, as they sought to roll back virtually everything done by our administration, regardless of merit. Just as it ignored Chinese spy balloons flying overhead, the Biden Administration has done nothing to address Chinese spy programs on our devices. 

TIKTOK FACES BAN IN BIPARTISAN BILL IF BYTEDANCE DOESN’T DIVEST OWNERSHIP

While Congress pushed Biden to enact legislation banning TikTok on official government devices, that hasn’t stopped his campaign from posting away on its own official TikTok account. Even still, I am grateful that Biden’s use of the app hasn’t kept him from backing the bill moving through the House this week (H.R. 7521) that forces the sale of TikTok. I just wish it hadn’t required the upcoming election for him to take the threat seriously. 

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, expertly navigated through the Energy and Commerce Committee (50-0) by Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is carefully crafted. While a TikTok ban would violate the First Amendment (something that could never be countenanced), forcing TikTok to divest from the Chinese Community Party—as this bill is designed to do—is just common sense.

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Today, every politician likes to talk tough on China. Unfortunately, too many politicians talk a big game but crack under the pressure of wealthy donors or personal grudges—including my former running mate.  When lobbyists for a company controlled by the Chinese Communist Party can turn a former president against his own political legacy, we should all be concerned.

The era of appeasing the Chinese Communist Party is over. The Trump-Pence administration was the first to confront the threat posed by TikTok, and I will never falter in my commitment to confronting China at home and abroad.

Allowing TikTok to continue operating in the United States while under CCP control is simply unacceptable. We would never have let Russia run the nightly news during the Cold War, and we certainly can’t let China do the same now.

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Allowing TikTok to continue to spew CCP-sanctioned propaganda poisoning the minds of American children is just wrong. Enough is enough.

Congress should pass legislation forcing the sale of TikTok as soon as possible, and President Biden must immediately sign it into law.

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