- Matt Gaetz wants the Biden administration to “blow up” TikTok next.
- Gaetz’s tweet about TikTok came after the Air Force shot down a Chinese balloon.
- “TikTok is a bigger threat than the Balloon,” Gaetz tweeted on Sunday.
Rep. Matt Gaetz wants the Biden administration to “blow up TikTok” next.
He posted a second tweet on Sunday, writing: “TikTok is a bigger threat than the Balloon.”
Gaetz was likely referring to a renewed push in the right wing to ban TikTok, the popular app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The initiative has roots in an August 2020 move by then-President Donald Trump to ban the app. President Joe Biden rescinded Trump’s executive order in June 2021.
In December, Gaetz told Florida ABC affiliate WEAR-TV that he thinks TikTok is a “security threat.”
“It is an intelligence tool for the Chinese communist party, and no spunky dance is worth having the Chinese communist party being able to exploit information from almost every American family,” Gaetz told WEAR-TV.
“Remember, they only allow their version of TikTok to be used 40 minutes a day in their country. Yet in our country, it seems to be addicting a generation to its vices and I think its a real challenge,” Gaetz added.
Gaetz was partially accurate in his claim about TikTok time limits in China.
In China, the TikTok app is known as Douyin. Only children under 14 are given a time limit on their Douyin use under the app’s “youth mode.” Adults can use the app for as long as they like.
Lawmakers like Josh Hawley of Missouri have echoed Gaetz’s sentiments about TikTok. In January, Hawley introduced in the Senate the “No TikTok on United States Devices Act,” which tables a ban on downloads of the app in the US.
“TikTok poses a threat to all Americans who have the app on their devices. It opens the door for the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location through aggressive data harvesting,” Hawley wrote on his website. “Banning it on government devices was a step in the right direction, but now is the time to ban it nationwide to protect the American people.”
Hawley’s bill came after after a bipartisan bill also aiming to ban TikTok was introduced on December 13. This bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio and House Reps. Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi. The bill is called the “ANTI-SOCIAL CCP ACT, “ which stands for “Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The US government has also taken steps to curtail the use of TikTok: More than 20 states have banned the app on government-owned devices.
Representatives for Gaetz and ByteDance did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.