Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has called for a hearing and potential congressional action on the Chinese social media app TikTok over the influence, privacy, and national security concerns it poses.
Sullivan, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST), sent a letter to the committee chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday asking for hearings and potential congressional action.
The senator explained that “many of the concerns” raised by lawmakers have been validated since the last hearing on the Chinese social media app in October 2021. As Sulivan noted, the China-based employees of the parent company, ByteDance, had access to U.S. user data and planned to use the data to “monitor the personal location of some specific American citizens.”
The effort from Sullivan comes during a recent push from Democrat and Republican public officials over the last few months to take action against the Chinese social media app over the concerns.
Numerous governors have announced they would ban TikTok and other Chinese-linked companies from being on state government devices. And on the federal level, a Republican-led Senate-passed piece of legislation was added to the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress last month and was signed into law, which would ban the Chinese social media app TikTok from U.S. government devices.
In 2020, then-President Donald Trump’s administration tried to ban TikTok, but this move resulted in the Chinese social media app’s parent company divesting the platform to an American company, which led Sullivan to say in his letter that there is now a “growing bipartisan recognition of the problem and momentum for further congressional scrutiny.”
He listed off multiple people having problems with the Chinese social media app, such as FBI Director Chris Wray, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), CIA Director Bill Burns, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.
“In light of these renewed bipartisan concerns and the repeated misrepresentations by TikTok regarding data security and its privacy practices, I urge you to hold a hearing on the risks that Americans, especially our children, face using this platform,” he stated in the letter.
Later adding, “The American people need to understand the ramifications of using this application. Such a hearing would serve as a crucial public forum to gather information as Congress and other policymakers consider this important issue.”