US senators specific concern about TikTok over election safety

Washington, July 30

With lower than 100 days for the presidential elections, a gaggle of seven high Republican senators has expressed concern over the Chinese social media app TikTok and its potential use by China to affect the polls.

The senators—in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf—stated that the Trump administration has rightly taken steps to keep up the safety and integrity of the US elections.

“We write to raise concerns about TikTok, the Chinese social-media service, which could enable the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to engage in influence operations against the United States, including operations designed to interfere with our elections,” senators Thom Tillis, Tom Cotton, Kevin Cramer, Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott stated on Wednesday.

As President Donald Trump acknowledged within the govt order in September 2018, “the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference”.

“The administration has acted decisively on this threat by forcing media outlets controlled by hostile state actors like Russia and China to register as foreign agents, imposing sanctions on foreign officials who attempted to meddle in the American elections and issuing repeated warnings about efforts by hostile foreign powers to interfere in upcoming elections,” they wrote.

Noting that TikTok has change into a well-liked discussion board for Americans, notably youthful Americans to have interaction in political conversations, the senators wrote that they’re tremendously involved that the CCP may use its management over TikTok to distort or manipulate these conversations to sow discord amongst Americans and to realize its most popular political outcomes.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese agency ByteDance, and nearly all of the corporate’s engineering and growth assets are based mostly in China. ByteDance often modifies TikTok content material to fulfill the CCP censorship guidelines, they stated.

In 2019, the Washington Post reported that ByteDance workers based mostly in China set TikTok’s content material requirements and issued instructions to take away TikTok content material they deemed “subversive or controversial”.

In November 2019, TikTok locked the account of an American teenager who posted a video important of the CCP’s horrific crimes towards the Uighur folks in China.

TikTok solely reversed this act of censorship and unlocked the younger lady’s account after a public outcry, they stated. PTI

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