More than two years after former President Donald Trump warned that TikTok should be banned in the U.S. unless it distances itself from its ownership by the Chinese, Democrats are admitting that he was right–although the popular social media app remains in heavy use here.
“I think Donald Trump was right, I mean, TikTok is an enormous threat,” Democrat Sen. Mark Warner (VA) said recently.
“The ability for China to have undue influence is, I think, a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict,” he added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray agrees, telling Congress earlier this month that he was “extremely concerned” about the threat from TikTok.
Biden not swayed
“Under Chinese law, Chinese companies are required to essentially — and I’m going to shorthand here — basically do whatever the Chinese government wants them to do in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government,” Wray said.
The FCC banned China’s Huawei and ZTE Gear because of the potential to spy on American military sites, but FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has also called for a ban on TikTok.
President Joe Biden does not seem to be paying attention to the warnings, however.
He brought TikTok influencers into the White House right before the midterm elections, and called them “trusted messengers” to bring his messages to young people, and it is not the first time he has used TikTok to do so.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Biden’s actions send a bad message to the public, making it seem like TikTok is fine and does not pose a threat to national security.
“By giving TikTok ‘influencers’ the platform of White House visits and creating content, Biden is signaling to the world he believes it is safe to use an app beholden to Beijing,” he said.
The Biden administration said recently that it has made an agreement with TikTok that it thinks will “satisfy the safety requirements” of its administration.
Whether or not it’s true and whether Biden can be trusted not to cozy up to China and then fail to hold them accountable yet again is another question altogether.