Marco Rubio: TikTok Parent Company Poses a National Security Threat

May 3, 2024 | Political News

Recently, a constituent emailed my office about TikTok. “I have not as yet seen evidence that the app poses security risks,” he wrote. I hear this a lot from Americans skeptical of Congress‘ bill to require TikTok to cut ties with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to respond directly to this and other concerns, because forcing a company to divest has serious implications. My response is this: ByteDance isn't a normal company. The evidence is clear that the Chinese Communist Party uses it to manipulate and spy on Americans through TikTok.

For one, the Chinese Communist Party controls ByteDance by law. In 2017, China's legislature required “all organizations and citizens” to “support, assist, and cooperate with national intelligence efforts.” This means Beijing can command ByteDance to turn over Americans' TikTok data or modify the algorithm TikTok uses to manipulate American public opinion.

The connections between ByteDance and the Chinese Communist Party don't end there, though. The tech giant is closely involved with China's security forces. In 2019, ByteDance and China's Ministry of Public Security agreed to a plan of strategic cooperation to spread propaganda and strengthen China's “national security matrix” through ByteDance's platforms.