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Tags: tim walberg | tiktok | china | bytedance

Rep. Walberg to Newsmax: TikTok Controllers Endanger US

By    |   Wednesday, 13 March 2024 01:44 PM EDT

Rep. Tim Walberg, before a House vote Wednesday to pass legislation that could eventually lead to banning the social media app TikTok in the U.S., said on Newsmax that allowing a Chinese-controlled company to retain the app's ownership is a matter of national security.

"With the algorithms that are in place, the amount of data that they're taking, it's a danger to our country," the Michigan Republican said on "National Report." "But let me make it clear, right from the get-go: This is not a ban of TikTok. It never has been."

The House passed the bipartisan legislation by a vote of 352-65, with Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, voting present. President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill into law if it passes the Senate and reaches his desk.

The bill, called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, is not an outright ban on the video app, but will allow the president, through federal intelligence agencies and the FBI, to designate social media apps under the control of adversaries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as national security threats.

Walberg said lawmakers worked on the bill for over a year that gave TikTok a choice on staying alive by determining if it wanted to continue to be controlled by ByteDance, which in turn is under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

"They have that choice," said Walberg. "If they make the choice to stay with ByteDance, then they will ban themselves. It's not us. We worked so closely with the Constitution to make sure that we did not violate the First Amendment that we allowed a platform to stay in place that could be useful to many people and hurtful to many people as well."

But if TikTok chooses ByteDance, then it will seal its fate, Walberg said. 

Walberg added that last year, he asked TikTok Chairman Zhang Yiming where the company's data was held, and he told an  "absolute lie" and said it was being held in Virginia. 

"It is controlled by China," Walberg said. "Even in their internal mailings, it was indicated that China will always have all the data. We can't allow that. Last week, they perpetrated thousands of emails to members of Congress, especially Energy and Commerce Committee members from users of TikTok. ... This is the type of control that the CCP can have on United States citizens."

Walberg said lawmakers who voted against the bill either missed some of the messaging about the legislation, or were against it for personal reasons, or they want to stay on TikTok and they "don't care, sadly, that China can control that information."

Walberg added that he doesn't find it odd that Biden's campaign is using the app, but if the bill passes, the campaign will also miss that opportunity if TikTok chooses to remain with ByteDance. 

"We're just saying divest move to another platform or another ownership company," said Walberg. "Young people can continue to use it. The president of the United States can continue, but that data will not be controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."


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Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., said on Newsmax that allowing a Chinese-controlled company to retain the app's ownership is a matter of national security.
tim walberg, tiktok, china, bytedance
Wednesday, 13 March 2024 01:44 PM
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