Last week, five Republicans in the Florida delegation–U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Ross Spano, Greg Steube and Ted Yoho–joined 20 other members of Congress in calling on the Trump administration to crack down on TikTok and other social media apps connected to the Chinese regime.
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Col., led the letter which included Yoho who leads Republicans on the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.
“These popular apps’ data collection practices, coupled with China’s onerous cybersecurity laws requiring all companies operating in China, including TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to share user data with CCP authorities, present a very real threat to U.S. national security. As such, we urge your administration to take decisive action to protect the American people’s privacy and safety,” the representatives wrote. “It is clear that the United States should not trust TikTok or any other Chinese-affiliated social media websites or apps to protect Americans’ data, privacy, or security. As such, we urge you to take strong action to stop the CCP’s sophisticated espionage campaign against our country and protect our national security. Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter.”
Steube praised the Trump administration which has increasingly sounded the alarm on TikTok.
“Using apps like TikTok to collect American data and violate our privacy and safety is just another tactic the Chinese Communist Party uses to spy on our citizens,” Steube said. “These types of apps should be investigated, banned, and the CCP leaders responsible should be held accountable.”
Earlier this month, U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo said that the administration was looking at banning TikTok.
A TikTok spokesman talked to CNBC and responded to Pompeo’s comments.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” the spokesman said.
In recent months, other elected officials from Florida have drawn attention to Tik Tok. Back in October, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin requesting the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to exercise its authority and launch a full review of the national security implications of TikTok’s acquisition of Musical.ly.
In March, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s, R-Mo., proposal making sure federal employees do not have TikTok on their smartphones.
“The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and TSA have already banned TikTok on federal government devices due to cybersecurity concerns and possible spying by the Communist Chinese government,” Scott’s office noted about the popular app.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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