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House Republicans Are Putting An End To Communist China’s Influence

  • rep. Gallagher
Imagine that you woke up one morning and discovered that Communist China had distributed 170 million sensors across the United States. As it turns out, such a surveillance network already exists: It’s called TikTok. 
That is why today, House Republicans are bringing the bipartisan Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act to the floor, which will protect Americans and prevent foreign adversaries like Communist China from targeting, surveilling, and manipulating the American people through online applications like TikTok.  
MAKE NO MISTAKE: We must act now to protect the American people and ensure that our citizens are not improperly targeted, surveilled, or influenced by a foreign adversary—whether on TikTok or any other app controlled by Communist China, Russia, or another authoritarian regime.
  • Promotes U.S. National Security: The Act prohibits marketplaces—like app stores and web hosting services—from hosting applications controlled by foreign adversaries of the United States, including the PRC, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. This includes applications like TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled ByteDance.
  • Establishes a Narrow Framework to Protect Against Future Applications Controlled by Foreign Adversary Covered Companies: The Act allows the President, after notice to the public and to Congress, to require divestment of an application subject to the control of a covered company controlled by a foreign adversary—or face a prohibition on app stores and be denied access to web hosting services in the United States. The President may exercise this authority only if an application presents a national security threat, has over one million annual active users, and is under the control of an adversarial foreign entity.
  • Incentivizes Divestment From the PRC or TikTok Will Face a Ban: Unless TikTok is divested, such that it is no longer controlled by a PRC-based entity that poses a national security risk, the application will face a prohibition in the U.S. from app store availability and web hosting services. If TikTok is divested, it can continue to operate in the U.S. If the restrictions are already in effect and TikTok is divested later, the restrictions will be lifted. The President, in coordination with all Executive branch agencies, including the national security and intelligence agencies and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), decides when a divestment is complete. This is a tailored solution to address the national security threat presented by TikTok’s ownership by a covered company controlled by a foreign adversary that minimizes impacts on users and provides an opportunity for ByteDance to divest.
  • Empowers Users and Small Businesses to Switch Platforms: If an application controlled by a foreign adversary covered company is not divested, it must provide users with a copy of their data. All users will be able to download their data and content and then utilize other platforms.
  • Protects Individual Users: No enforcement action can be taken against individual users of a banned application. Civil enforcement actions may only be initiated against companies that violate the Act.
  • Only Foreign Adversary Entities Impacted: The Act only applies to covered applications subject to the control of foreign adversaries, including the PRC, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. This Act does not provide any authority related to domestic entities that are not controlled by a foreign adversary.  
  • TikTok is now one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. It is available in over 150 countries and serves over 1 billion users. 
  • In the United States, TikTok has been downloaded over 210 million times and is especially popular among teenagers and young adults. 
  • Two out of three American teens have used the platform. 
  • On average, American viewers spend 80 minutes per day watching TikToks.
  • TikTok’s popularity is due to its aggressive recommendation algorithm that, unlike other western social media platforms, recommends content based on a user’s previous engagement and personalized data the platform has already collected.
  • Within minutes of creating an account, TikToks algorithm can promote suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders to children.
  • Despite numerous claims by TikTok executives that it does not share U.S. user data with the CCP, from 2014 to 2017 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) passed several laws requiring all Chinese tech companies to allow CCP officials access to user data.
  • The ambitious data collection goals of the CCP and the documented lack of transparency from TikTok and their executives over data and moderation practices has prompted governments, including the United States, the European Union, Canada, India and several U.S. States to ban the use of the application on government devices.
  • China has stated that they would "resolutely oppose" the forced sale of TikTok, showing importance that they place on the surveillance tool.