Biden faces calls to ban TikTok parent

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The group, led by Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), expressed concerns about the security of U.S. user data on TikTok, as well as the relationship between ByteDance and the Chinese government.


“TikTok provides the [Chinese Communist Party] with the ability to weaponize the platform by suppressing, magnifying, and otherwise constructing narratives to target specific audiences abroad,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.


“Applications from ByteDance are an accessory to the soft power and propaganda of the CCP, and we must mitigate the role of software access in facilitating this capability,” they added.


The lawmakers urged Raimondo to add ByteDance to the Bureau of Industry Security’s Entity List. The export of goods, software and technology to companies on the list are restricted.


“This step would be instrumental in applying licensing restrictions to the export of software from the U.S. to ByteDance for its applications,” they said.


“If American users are not able to upgrade their app with software updates, which involves the export of U.S. software, then the operability of the applications of concern will be weakened,” the lawmakers added.


However, a TikTok spokesperson claimed the letter “misrepresent[s] the facts and the law” and “ignores the industry leading work we’ve done to safeguard protected U.S. user data.”


“We’ve engaged in good faith with Congress and relevant agencies through the [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] process for over four years and continue to do so,” the spokesperson said in a statement.


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