- GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called TikTok “an immediate threat” and wants it banned in the US.
- McMorris Rodgers said she’s deeply concerned about the user data of millions of US TikTok users.
- Influencers descended on the Capitol last week as TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified before Congress.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Sunday said that Tiktok represented “an immediate threat” from the Chinese Communist Party and supports banning the popular video app in the United States.
The Washington Republican, who serves as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that last week’s congressional testimony from TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew affirmed her belief that Congress needed to pass a data privacy law.
“I would say there’s an immediate threat via TikTok from the Chinese Communist Party. That is the reason that I believe we need to ban TikTok immediately. It is a national security threat,” McMorris Rodgers said. “It united Republicans and Democrats on the committee as to the urgent need for us to take action.”
“What the hearing made clear to me was that TikTok should be banned in the United States of America to address the immediate threat and we also need a national data privacy law,” she added.
McMorris Rodgers pointed to Tiktok and parent company ByteDance as having ties to the Chinese government, which she said is a major risk to Americans.
There is currently no evidence that TikTok has disclosed any US user data with Chinese government officials, but many lawmakers believe that the Chinese government could ultimately push the company to share vital information about the roughly 150 million active monthly US users.
“The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent US-based protection of US user data and systems with robust third-party monitoring, vetting and verification, which we are already implementing,” the company said in a statement earlier this month.
Sen. Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, also stated during a Sunday interviews on CBS News that he was concerned about TikTok’s ties to China.
“At the end of the day, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, and by Chinese law, that company has to be willing to turn over data to the Communist Party or, one of my bigger fears, we have 150 million Americans on TikTok, average of about 90 minutes a day, and how that channel could be used for propaganda purposes or disinformation by the Communist Party,” he said.
Last week, numerous social media influencers swarmed the Capitol in an attempt to attract the attention of lawmakers and stop a TikTok ban in the US.