TikTok faces an uncertain year ahead in the United States as anti-China Republicans take greater control in Congress demanding tighter scrutiny for the highly popular video sharing app
US conservatives have accused Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of circumventing TikTok, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, for spying or propaganda.Downloaded by millions of US young people.
However, Democrats have now joined the chorus of condemnation, and US President Joe Biden last week signed legislation prohibiting the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. The law also prohibits the use of TikTok in the US House of Representatives and Senate.
TikTok is the “digital fentanyl,” said Republican lawmaker Mike Gallagher, one of the most outspoken critics of China in Congress, comparing the app to the deadly opioid.
“It’s highly addictive and destructive, and we’re seeing troubling data about the corrosive impact of constant social media use,” he told NBC News.
“We have to ask ourselves whether we want the CCP to control what is on the verge of becoming America’s most powerful media company,” Gallagher told NBC.
A TikTok spokesperson stated that Gallagher’s comments have “zero truth” and that the CCP “has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok.”
The national law corresponds to dozens of government-use bans at the state and local levels, and TikTok USA is now fighting for survival as a Chinese-owned company, with the possibility of having to divest from ByteDance in order to remain on US smartphones.
Criticism has even expanded to other Western countries with French President Emmanuel Macron last month accusing the Chinese social network of censoring content and encouraging online addiction among young people;
TikTok has put months of effort into trying to find a long-term arrangement with the US government through the secretive interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Reports have revealed that TikTok and the Biden administration were on the verge of announcing a long-term deal that would have defined strict safeguards for US users’ data
“The solution under consideration by CFIUS is a comprehensive package of measures with layers of government and independent oversight… far beyond what any peer company is doing today,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said.
Wray warned last month that the Chinese could control the app’s algorithm, leaving US users vulnerable to a government “that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that is very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States.”
TikTok vehemently denies that the Chinese government has such restrictions.