Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., told Newsmax on Thursday he is surprised by the amount of bipartisan support there is behind the effort by federal lawmakers to ban the TikTok social media app.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was grilled by Democrat and Republican lawmakers on whether the app's parent company, ByteDance, which has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, has been spying on the app's 150 million American users.
Dunn, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told "Prime News" he expects substantial action by Congress will be taken against the app in the near future.
"I was actually surprised at how unanimous the opinion was among the committee on both sides of the aisle to ban TikTok," Dunn said.
During the hearing, Dunn asked Chew if ByteDance was using TikTok to spy on Americans. Chew said no, but Dunn then referenced an October 2022 Forbes article that said ByteDance planned to use TikTok to monitor the location of specific U.S. citizens. Dunn asked Chew again if ByteDance was using TikTok to spy on Americans.
"I don't think that spying is the right way to describe it," Chew said.
"He denied it the first time I asked him the question, he says, 'No, they don't,'" Dunn said. "And then he said, 'Well, we wouldn't characterize it that way,' so he's sort of backing off. This is actually spying, unquestionably."
Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York is one Democrat who opposes a TikTok ban. He held a news conference Thursday with more than 20 social media influencers who earn a living through TikTok. Dunn said those social media influencers will have other avenues to make a living should TikTok get banned.
"There will be another app. There's always another app for people to talk to each other," Dunn said. "... It's a national security issue. They literally used this to track government officials, specifically, and also to invade government websites. ... This is spying and it's harmful."
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