Democratic congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi this week joined two Republican colleagues in the House in co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok in the US.
Krishnamoorthi told the Daily Herald on Thursday, just as the US Senate approved a bill banning TikTok from government devices, that he supports the House bill because TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that has allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party and that documents show has plans to track Americans.
“It is important to recognize that this is not just a theoretical possibility,” Krishnamoorthi said. “In October, Forbes came out with a report, based on internal documents from ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control department, that the company had planned to use the app to monitor the personal locations of individual Americans for surveillance purposes unrelated to advertising or its business goals.”
FBI Director Chris Wray and other government officials have expressed concerns that TikTok is a threat to users and national security because it is controlled by a Chinese government that, they say, doesn’t share America’s values.
Testifying at a Senate hearing in September, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas said the company protects American users’ data and Chinese government officials have no access to it.
But Krishnamoorthi said there are reasons not to take that answer at face value. While there have been privacy concerns surrounding other social media apps, TikTok’s being owned by ByteDance makes the app unique, he said.