Gov’t Agencies Are Banning TikTok From Their Devices; Should This Go Farther?

After senators presented bipartisan legislation to prevent the world’s most popular app from operating in the U.S., Twitter influencers and politicians on both sides of the aisle unified in calls to “ban TikTok.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been in the forefront of the movement to ban TikTok, arguing in a press statement released on Tuesday that the reasons to do so are obvious and widely accepted. “Everyone has made apparent the risk of TikTok being used to spy on Americans, from the Director of the FBI to FCC Commissioners and cybersecurity specialists.”

This bill, named “Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act,” or “ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act” for short, would effectively demonetize any app within China’s orbit.


The next day, Rubio also tweeted about how TikTok was a Chinese government-backed backdoor into American phones and personal data. “Any American utilizing @tiktok us can be subject to data collection and use by the communist Chinese government at any time. The video sharing app Tik Tok should be prohibited.”

However, Rubio’s attacks were not limited to TikTok. After CNN’s senior media reporter Oliver Darcy called the push to ban TikTok in the U.S. a “GOP fad” on Twitter on Tuesday, the senator lashed out at the network.

In response, Rubio tweeted, “This isn’t a GOP-led #TikTok ban ‘craze.'” “It’s been going on for over three years, and support for it has come from both parties the whole time. However, @CNN’s fixation with attacking Republicans is so deeply embedded in their culture that their “journalists” would defend anyone we are fighting, including the Communist Party of #China.”

Avi Yemini of Rebel News recently came to Twitter to remind people that in 2020, President Donald Trump faced criticism for calling for the app’s prohibition and even issued an Executive Order to that purpose. “And it took them long enough to realize Trump was right. Again.”

Republican governors have been the most vocal in their opposition to the video-sharing app TikTok, signing various prohibition orders in states including Maryland, Texas, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. On December 7, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, “The threat presented by the CCP through TikTok is significant and must be stopped.” After issuing an executive order prohibiting the app from government-owned smartphones, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced, “South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence collection operations of nations who detest us.” TikTok was “blacklisted from State networks and State-managed devices” according Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s order.

A groundswell of opposition is also growing in the Senate, with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley declaring on Twitter on Wednesday morning that “Democrats won’t” act against TikTok, “so I will.”

“This week I’ll be trying to get a federal ban on TikTok on all government devices passed on the Senate floor,” he said.


The continuous domination of TikTok in the United States has also been met with outrage from members of Congress. In an impassioned statement, Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher compared TikTok to “digital fentanyl” and introduced legislation that would prevent the company from functioning in the United States.

“TikTok is the digital equivalent of fentanyl; it is hooking users, mining their personal information for profit, and suppressing critical reporting. ByteDance, which is ultimately accountable to the Chinese Communist Party – America’s biggest opponent – also owns this rapidly expanding media conglomerate. To permit the app to remain active in the United States would be the equivalent of enabling the Soviet Union to acquire control of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the major broadcast networks during the Cold War.”

Each company in China must have a member of the CCP on its board of directors. Everyone knows that board member does more than simply sit there and file his nails during meetings.

The CCP’s indirect control over ByteDance/TikTok is the most pernicious aspect of this whole mess.

Not to get too paranoid, but aside from data mining (others have pointed out that its claim about US data being kept here is patently false), does anyone else remember all those ’50s and ’60s videos about how propaganda tropes can be insinuated slide by slide into other, innocent movies, such that the viewer is not aware of it? Could the CCP be planting such hints in popular videos? with advertisements urging viewers not to go to the polls? that they will vote a specific way, etc.

Is there a technical reason why the United States cannot develop a service like TikTok but without the associated security flaws? This seems like the quickest and easiest way to avoid being a target of data theft by other countries. There are undoubtedly additional security holes, but it’s foolish to keep fretting about TikTok when it can easily be fixed.

You can label me as paranoid, but I think China represents an existential threat to the United States and that its actions against the country have no moral limits.




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