The social media giant TikTok has become a point of focus for Republican and Democratic legislators alike. Both sides of the aisle have raised concerns over the way the app, and more specifically its Chinese parent company – ByteDance – has collected vast amounts of data on U.S. citizens.
Those raising concerns include Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who, for a long time, has been calling out the app for its ties to China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as well as Representative Kat Cammack (R-FL) who has done the same.
While examining TikTok’s CEO during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Rep. Cammack asked hard-hitting questions.
"If there is no threat to our data, privacy, or security; why did an internal memo from TikTok corporate headquarters explicitly coach senior management to quote, 'downplay' the parent company ByteDance? Why would they say 'downplay' the China association and 'downplay AI?'" Rep. Cammack asked.
"You damn well know that you cannot protect the data and security of this Committee, or the 150 million users of your app, because it is an extension of the CCP," Cammack concluded.
Cammack spoke to The Floridian where she said, "the cat is out of the bag" when it comes to Tik Tok and what both Democrats and Republicans want to do with it. Cammack believes that a National Data Privacy bill is needed, but reiterated that Tik Tok needed to be banned.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) agrees that TikTok and its improprieties are prevalent, while also holding the belief that an outright ban of the app will not solve America’s data surveillance problem.
“The United States is one of the only developed economies that does not have a comprehensive privacy or surveillance protection law. And that is the actual problem that we are having here,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez told The Floridian.
“Banning one platform or another, I don’t believe gets us to the core of this issue…So I do not believe that a TikTok ban actually solves the problem that we have. And I think the actual solution is protecting people’s data and protecting Americans from comprehensive surveillance.”
When asked about Rep. Cammack’s willingness to put forth a bill that addresses all social media platforms concerning this issue, AOC responded that she would support it “if it’s real.”
“If it’s real, if we’re talking about actual consumer protection, [then] yeah," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.