U.S. House Select Committee on China Chairman, Representative Mike Gallagher, has underscored the security threat posed by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlled ByteDance's TikTok. He criticized American institutions for inadequately confronting Beijing, centering his concerns on TikTok over issues such as lack of reciprocity (U.S. platforms are banned in China), espionage risks and the app's usage as a tool for propaganda and misinformation. Gallagher warned about CCP officials' access to U.S. social media platforms and how they fueled division in the country during the pandemic.
Gallagher's Proposed Measures
Suggesting the need to balance free market with national security concerns, Gallagher proposed measures like banning TikTok or enforcing its sale to a U.S. firm. He acknowledged obstacles to a bipartisan legislative solution, including TikTok's lobbying and criticism of the Senate for delegating excessive authority to the executive.
Collaboration with Five Eyes Alliance
Moreover, he emphasized collaboration with allies like the Five Eyes Alliance to counter China's technological advance in artificial intelligence. He stressed the need for a more substantive approach in Congress to reclaim authority and work productively. Gallagher expressed cautious optimism about achieving a bipartisan approach to current challenges in foreign policy and internal governance.
TikTok's Influence and Risks
In a recent survey, it was found that spending at least 30 minutes a day on TikTok increases the chances that a user holds antisemitic or anti-Israel views by 17%. Critics argue that the Chinese-owned social media giant aims to divide and polarize the U.S. Notably, a post surfaced on TikTok showing yearbook photos of students at CHS with threatening music in the background, highlighting potential risks associated with the platform.
ByteDance offered to buy back up to $5 billion from investors at a valuation of $268 billion, reflecting its position in the Chinese internet market. Despite facing challenges in various markets, the company successfully rolled out TikTok Shop and on-demand services. Nevertheless, concerns over national security risks, Chinese government's stake, and data privacy issues continue to plague TikTok, impacting its global popularity.