Republicans, Democrats unite against TikTok

March 23, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

It took escalating Communist Chinese aggression and a smart-phone app that gives groomers and foreign adversaries alike easy access to tens of millions of American children to unite Republicans and Democrats, but it happened Thursday as politicians from both parties confronted the CEO of TikTok.

TikTok's CEO Shou Zi Chew the House Energy and Commerce Committee that its owner, the Beijing-based internet company ByteDance, "is not an 'agent' of communist-led China — amid growing U.S. concerns the immensely popular social media site is a national security threat and omnipresent danger to teens' mental health," Just the News reported.

Congressmen from both sides of the aisle on the committee came at Chew like waves on a beach, hitting him with tough questions about: Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, access to Americans' TikTok user data; the app's algorithms that hook teens on harmful (even deadly) videos; and the app's biased moderation, including the banning of NBC star Enes Kanter Freedom, a fierce critic of human rights abuses in Communist China.

"Much of Chew's attempts to stress that his company is not an arm of the Chinese government appeared to fall on deaf ears. Numerous members of Congress interrupted the chief executive's testimony to say they simply don't believe him," reported CNN.

Rep. August Pfluger, R-TX., told Chew, "I've got to hand it to you: you've actually done something that in the last three to four years has not happened, [with] the exception of Vladimir Putin. You have unified Republicans and Democrats. If only for a day, we are actually unified, because we have serious concerns."

Pfluger questioned an evasive Chew about TikTok's sudden action against Kanter Freedom, a bold critic of Communist China's dictatorship.

Freedom provided real-time evidence of TikTok's compromised ethics on the app itself: showing how his account was restored just as Chew was being grilled about his banishment. Freedom commented: "The CEO of @tiktok Shou Chew is a liar and the #CCP's puppet. ... He was giving a testimony in front of members of Congress, and a Congressman asked him why #TikTok banned me after sharing content about China's Human Rights abuses. While he was asking the question, TikTok unbanned me. I recorded everything. Here is a proof of how the CEO of Tiktok Shou Chew is lying front right in front of our Congress."

Even though it has been mainly Republican governors in red states, led by South Dakota's Kristi Noem, who have pushed for banning TikTok app on state employees' devices, Democrats on the Energy and Commerce hearing were also tough on Chew.

CNN reported:

In an exchange with California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, Chew talked up TikTok's ongoing efforts to protect U.S. user data and said he has "seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to that data; they have never asked us, we have not provided it."

"I find that actually preposterous," Eshoo fired back.

"I have looked in — and I have seen no evidence of this happening," Chew responded. "Our commitment is to move their data into the United States, to be stored on American soil by an American company, overseen by American personnel. So the risk would be similar to any government going to an American company, asking for data."

"I don't believe that TikTok — that you have said or done anything to convince us," Eshoo said.

Outside the Capitol, the conservative Heritage Foundation organized a press conference with the speakers and assembled supporters wearing "Ban TikTok" t-shirts.

"If China had soldiers showing up after school to American schools, picking up kids, taking them to indoctrination centers, and then teaching those kids what they want to teach them, to produce a future where our children hate our own country, we would all stand up against it. Congress would act," conservative activist Robby Starbuck said at the outdoor press event.

"This wouldn't be partisan and it shouldn't be partisan. If you care about our kids, you have to realize: this is not an app, this a weapon. And you act when your foreign adversaries use a weapon against your children. Period," he said.

After Democrat New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman said at a pro-TikTok press conference that Republicans are against the app because they lack "swag," Starbuck torched the Congressman, saying, "Maybe we need more members of Congress who are more focused on protecting our country and our kids than if they look like they have swag":

Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik, who has done more than anyone in the world to expose the app's harmful videos aimed at impressionable kids, also spoke at the press event.

"TikTok is a weapon being used to groom our kids," Raichik said. "Predators are lurking everywhere trying to get access to your children to groom them. ... Over the last few years, TikTok has become a cesspool for LGBTQ activists to target children with propaganda."

"TikTok is designed to attract our impressionable youth. Groomers and predators know this and are using it to their advantage," she said.

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