OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrats are raising new concerns about TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, after former President Donald Trump raised them during his term.
“Donald Trump was originally ridiculed as president when he suggested the Chinese-owned TikTok social video app was a national security risk, only now to be validated two years later by the intelligence community,” Just the News reported on Saturday.
“Meanwhile, Joe Biden vowed to always heed the intelligence community, only to stray by promoting TikTok during the midterms as a political strategy and allowing his administration to bring some TikTok workers to the United States on special immigrant visas,” the outlet continued, adding:
The extraordinary turnabout was solidified in the last few weeks when Democrat Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner declared that Trump was right, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr demanded a complete U.S. ban on the short-form video app, and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned the bureau believes China’s Communist Party (CCP) could potentially use TikTok to influence American users or control their devices.
There’s “plenty of reason by itself to be extremely concerned,” Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee when asked about TikTok last week.
Two Republicans, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, just introduced a bill to ban social media companies like TikTok “that are effectively controlled by the CCP from operating in the United States.”
“This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago,” Warner said last month. “If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok, if your population uses WeChat as a social media platform, the ability for China to have undue influence is, I think, a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict.”
Biden, however, began his administration with this pledge: “You will never see a time, while I’m President of the United States, when my administration in any way tries to affect or alter your judgments about what you think the situation we face is.”
But his Democratic Party has continued to use the platform. And just last month, he spent an hour with eight TikTok influencers at the White House, reaching millions of people on the platform.
Trump first raised concerns about TikTok in 2020 and was summarily criticized by most of the legacy media.
“CNN actually ran a story declaring that the action set a ‘dangerous precedent for democracy.’ Late-night comics like NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers also brutally mocked the 45th president, and Trump was also challenged in court,” Just the News reported.
The years-long delay in publicly acknowledging concerns about the China-based social media app is the latest example of how the anti-Trump political establishment taints debate in the country, even if U.S. national security has been put at risk, according to one lawmaker who is a key figure in technology security issues.
“Everybody, both on the defense side and on the commercial side, tells us about what the Chinese are doing and how effective they’re being,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Just the News this month.
“So, how did they get it wrong? They got it wrong by denying what they knew to be true. TikTok is such a good example where [the Chinese] turned it into a full spy tool, and fools signed up for it, even though it was designed to be a spy tool, and it’s been an effective one,” he added.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, part of a team of state attorneys general that has successfully taken action against Google over data privacy issues, told Just the News he is considering litigation against TikTok.
“We’re taking a very hard look at companies like TikTok, at least the U.S. company,” Wilson told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show. “It’s a Chinese-owned application, but we are looking at the American subsidiary, and we’re working with other states around the country, other AG offices around the country.
“I tell people all the time, it’s bad enough that Big Tech is that far into your personal lives and your personal history. But a Big Tech company that is owned by the Chinese government is really scary.”