Last week, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) joined the bipartisan crusade against the Chinese Communist Party-tied TikTok.
Concern over the app’s troubling ties to the CCP has become increasingly bipartisan in Congress. Now Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has asked Google and Apple to ban TikTok from its app stores.
“Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints. Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work,’” Bennet’s February 2 letter to the leftist Big Tech giant read.
The senator warned Apple and Google that the CCP could compel TikTok to manipulate its algorithm in the United States to censor content critical of the party’s atrocities in Asia.
“[W]e should accept the very real possibility that the CCP could compel TikTok, via ByteDance, to use its influence to advance Chinese government interests, for example, by tweaking its algorithm to present Americans content to undermine U.S. democratic institutions or muffle criticisms of CCP policy toward Hong Kong, Taiwan, or its Uighur population,” he continued.
Bennet cited research showing that Americans spend an average of “80 minutes per day” on TikTok–more than Facebook and Instagram combined. He again stressed that the CCP has the ability to use the app as a “weapon” against the United States.
“Beijing’s requirement raises the obvious risk that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could weaponize TikTok against the United States, specifically, by forcing ByteDance to surrender Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate the content Americans receive to advance China’s interests,” he concluded. “No company subject to CCP dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”
TikTok reportedly tried to gaslight Bennet’s concerns. “Unfortunately, Senator Bennet’s letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter claimed, according to CNN.
Oberwetter claimed that Bennet’s letter “‘ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country’s top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform.’”
Original reporting from MRC Free Speech America, however, shows that TikTok’s penchant for censorship is not theoretical:
TikTok canceled the accounts of no fewer than 11 pro-free speech groups since January 2019, according to CensorTrack data. The platform did not provide an explanation for the permanent bans of accounts, like The Babylon Bee; Live Action and its President Lila Rose; American Constitutional Rights Union Executive Director Lt. Col. Allen West and even the Media Research Center’s own MRCTV.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.