Home » Rubio’s Call to Action: Protecting America from TikTok’s Chinese Influence [Op-Ed]

Rubio’s Call to Action: Protecting America from TikTok’s Chinese Influence [Op-Ed]

by Richard A Reagan

In a powerful op-ed published in the New York Post, Senator Marco Rubio voices a stark warning about TikTok, the popular social media app owned by ByteDance, which is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Rubio articulates a pressing concern: the potential for China to manipulate and spy on American citizens through TikTok. 

ByteDance, while perhaps unknown to many, wields significant influence through TikTok, curating video feeds for approximately 170 million users in the United States.

However, the company’s ties to the CCP, via a national security law passed in 2017 and a “golden share” in ByteDance’s stock, grant Beijing absolute control. This relationship raises alarm, especially given the app’s capacity to gather and analyze detailed data on users’ preferences, beliefs, and behaviors. [Source]

Senator Rubio warns, “ByteDance gets to know TikTok users better than they know themselves,” explaining the risk posed if the CCP decides to use the app for nefarious purposes. [Source]

This concern is not unfounded; there have been reports of ByteDance engaging in activities such as spying on American journalists, manipulating political discourse, and accessing sensitive personal information through TikTok.

The senator makes a compelling argument against allowing such foreign influence in American media, drawing a parallel that the U.S. would “never allow the Chinese Communist Party to own and ultimately control The New York Post or Fox News.”

The question then arises: why tolerate such control over TikTok, a platform from which a significant portion of young American adults obtain news?

Highlighting the bipartisan recognition of this issue, Rubio notes that opposition to TikTok’s China ties in Congress has “grown broader and stronger,” culminating in the House of Representatives voting overwhelmingly to force a separation between TikTok and ByteDance. 

Rubio, alongside Senator Mark Warner, is now poised to push this legislation through the Senate, aiming to eliminate the threat posed by ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok.

Addressing concerns over free speech and the operation of American companies, Rubio clarifies, “The issue on the table is not how Americans are using TikTok but how ByteDance is using the app on Beijing’s behalf.”

The proposed bill seeks not to ban TikTok outright but to ensure it can operate independently of ByteDance, thereby safeguarding American users from foreign espionage and manipulation.

With TikTok demonstrating its potential to influence American political processes, the urgency of the matter cannot be overstated. Rubio’s call to action resonates with a sense of duty to safeguard the nation, urging every American lawmaker to support the separation of TikTok from Beijing’s influence.

Senator Rubio’s plea is a rallying cry for American lawmakers and citizens alike to recognize the gravity of allowing a foreign power such as China to control a platform as influential as TikTok. 

The time to act is now, to ensure the protection of America’s national security and uphold the values of freedom and independence that define the nation.

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