TikTok Sues U.S. Government over New Law Banning App

TikTok User

On Tuesday, the Chinese social media app TikTok and its parent company filed a lawsuit against the federal government of the United States over a new law threatening to ban the app if it is not sold to another company by next year.

ABC News reports that the lawsuit, filed by TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance, claims the new law is a violation of the First Amendment rights of TikTok’s users. The bill was signed into law by Joe Biden last month, with the TikTok ban being one provision of a larger $95 billion foreign aid package. The law requires ByteDance to sell TikTok within 9 months, or else the app will be banned from use in the United States.

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Biden Campaign Says It Will Stay on TikTok Despite Foreign Aid Package That Could Ban It

President Biden in front of TikTok logo (composite image)

Supporters of the legislation claim that the app poses a national security risk because it is owned by a Chinese company, and thereby could expose sensitive U.S. data to the Chinese government.

President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said on Wednesday that it still plans to stay on the controversial app TikTok, despite the president’s signing a foreign aid package that could eventually ban it in the United States.

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Fresh Revelations About TikTok Come as Senate Considers the Divestment Bill

TikTok app in front of Chinese flag

Pressure is mounting in Washington to finally pass a bill requiring TikTok’s China-based parent company to divest of the popular social media app amid new revelations that the company is much closer to the Chinese government than it has previously claimed.

Now, the House has passed a comprehensive foreign aid package which included a revised TikTok divestment bill. This makes it more likely to become law sooner rather than later as the Senate is set to consider the legislation.

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China Lobbying Congress amid TikTok Ban Efforts

iPhone with TikTok app logo

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been secretly attempting to lobby members of Congress over recent proposals to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

As reported by Breitbart, employees of the Chinese Embassy have been meeting with congressional staffers to try to persuade members to vote against the bill that would force the Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok, or else face an indefinite ban on the app’s use in the United States. The bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in March with bipartisan support, and is now being reviewed by the Senate.

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Senate Intel Chair: ‘There May Need to be Certain Changes Made’ to House-Passed TikTok Bill

Senator Mark Warner

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expects the House-passed bill that could lead to a ban on TikTok in the U.S. might need to be amended in the Senate

Warner told reporters last week the changes could involve the timeline that it requires Bytedance to divest in the popular smartphone app.

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GOP-Led House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Force China Company Bytedance to Divest Stake in TikTok

A bill to require the Chinese company Bytedance to divest its stake in TikTok within 165 days or face a ban on the popular smartphone application in the U.S. passed on the House floor in a bipartisan vote on Wednesday.

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Commentary: Ban TikTok or Let Beijing Control Our Broadcast Networks, Too

Tiktok User

In the dynamic landscape of global entertainment, the influence of Beijing over Hollywood has long been a topic of heated discussion. While the box office power of the Chinese market has waned, giving a breath of creative freedom back to our filmmakers, there looms a new and more pervasive form of influence on Hollywood and well beyond: TikTok.

Beijing may have lost theatrical market leverage, but it has more than made up for that with an overpowering social media presence that has become an epidemic, not just in Hollywood but throughout the United States. In fact, the Chairman of Congress’s Select Committee on China, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), accurately labels TikTok as “digital fentanyl” and has been aggressively campaigning to ban the social media app.

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TikTok is Still Sending American User Data to Chinese Parent Company: Report

TikTok continues to distribute data to its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance despite its purported efforts to protect American data, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

TikTok attempted to address concerns from lawmakers and public officials over its handling of Americans’ data by spending $1.5 billion on establishing an isolated unit to safeguard American data called Project Texas. However, managers within TikTok are telling employees to share data to ByteDance, bypassing authorized channels, according to current and previous employees as well as company records the WSJ saw.

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CCP-Linked TikTok’s Personnel Can Allegedly Access Politicians’ Private Networks: Report

TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance’s personnel can allegedly view the private connections of a vast array of politicians, Forbes reported on Wednesday.

TikTok has a social graph tool that reveals connections of individuals including members of President Joe Biden’s family, governors, senators and state attorneys general, Forbes reported. Other social media companies have access to similar data but TikTok has fewer barriers for employees to view it and more personal information available for them to draw from, according to individuals who have worked for multiple tech firms who spoke to Forbes.

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TikTok Employees Raise Concern over CCP Influence as China Execs Move In

Some employees at the popular social media platform TikTok are concerned about the influence the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has on the company as executives from its parent, ByteDance, take on new positions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A number of high-level executives from ByteDance in China have taken on new roles at TikTok’s U.S. operation, with employees complaining internally that there may be greater CCP influence than what is being publicly disclosed, according to the WSJ. The China-based ByteDance is subject to CCP regulation and can be pressured by the government to hand over information that the company has collected, which has in the past raised concerns over whether American users of the app are having their data collected by the foreign government.

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TikTok’s CCP-Linked Parent Company Is Trying to Break into a Whole New Industry

ByteDance, the CCP-linked parent company of popular shortform video platform TikTok, is trying to enter the book publishing industry, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The company filed in late April for a U.S. trademark for a publishing firm, 8th Note Press, and has already begun reaching out to some independent authors for the rights to sell their books, the NYT reported. TikTok has helped some books become bestsellers in the past several years, posts using the #Booktok hashtag have been viewed more than 91 billion times and the combined sales of 100 authors with large BookTok followings eclipsed $760 million in 2022, a 60% surge from the year prior.

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TikTok’s Parent Company Allegedly Tracks Conversations About COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory: Report

Popular social media app TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance might be tracking online conversations about the COVID-19 lab leak theory, according to documents obtained by Forbes.

A ByteDance tool controlled by Chinese personnel monitors the use of “sensitive words” across company platforms, according to a Forbes investigation. Forbes accessed hundreds of ByteDance’s word lists and published them; they contain various categories including “science and medicine,” which is largely about China and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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TikTok Lobbyists Visited Biden White House at Least 40 Times Last Year

White House visitor records show that lobbyists and executives for the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok have visited the Biden White House at least 40 times in the past year.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the plethora of visits is part of the tech company’s broader plan for a massive public relations campaign aimed at rehabilitating its image, amid numerous setbacks including government bans on the app in various states and other countries. TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have already spent over $13 million on federal lobbying since 2019, having hired lobbying firms such as SKDK, a major Democratic public relations firm.

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Call to Ban TikTok on Personal Phones Gaining Momentum

About 30 states have placed restrictions on the social media app TikTok mostly related to government devices, but there is momentum for a larger ban on personal devices.

A growing number of lawmakers in the U.S. have raised national security concerns about the short-form video app because of TikTok’s ties to China through its parent company ByteDance.

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TikTok Not the Only China-Controlled App Thriving in America: Report

The top four downloaded applications in the past 30 days in the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play Store are owned by Chinese-tied companies, according to data from Apptopia analyzed by Axios.

While these Chinese-tied apps are thriving in the U.S., American apps are typically not permitted to operate in China due to the country’s strict censorship, according to Axios. China has over one billion internet users according to Statista, so the U.S. is missing out on a massive market while China has exclusive access to it.

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FBI, DOJ Investigating TikTok Parent over Surveillance of Americans: Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are investigating Chinese company ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, for surveilling Americans, according to Forbes.

The DOJ Fraud Section and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia subpoenaed information from the company about its employees’ efforts to access the location and other private information of American journalists through TikTok, Forbes reported, citing an anonymous source. The FBI is conducting interviews on the same subject.

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Tennessee AG Skrmetti Leads 46 States to Demand China-Based TikTok Comply with Multistate Investigation

Forty-six attorneys general joined Tennessee in requesting that a state court force TikTok to comply with an ongoing multistate investigation into the platform’s impact on children.

Following TikTok’s failure to comply with a Request for Information (RFI) last week, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti filed a motion Monday to require the Chinese-owned social media company to preserve documents and internal messages, his office announced. Colorado and 45 other states also filed an amicus brief Monday in support of Skrmetti’s motion, arguing that TikTok’s failure to respond impedes “the State’s ability to protect their citizens.”

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European Union Commission Suspends TikTok Use on Work Devices

The European Union Commission on Thursday suspended the use of TikTok on work devices and EU employees’ personal devices that are used for work.

“This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission,” the agency said.

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NFL Lures Millions to TikTok Despite Rising Security, Privacy Concerns About the Chinese Platform

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles face off Sunday in the Super Bowl, but their competition extends beyond the gridiron to the social media stage, where the two teams are vying, along with the NFL’s other 30 franchises, for followers and engagement on TikTok, the controversial video-sharing app that reportedly has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Although spy balloons are currently dominating the headlines, the wildly popular TikTok appears to be China’s premier Trojan Horse.

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Despite Voting to Ban on Government Devices, Some U.S. Lawmakers Still Using TikTok

Some lawmakers are active on TikTok even after concerns about the social media platform’s surveillance capabilities prompted Congress to ban it on some federal devices in December.

The bipartisan omnibus spending bill passed on Dec. 23 prohibits TikTok on executive branch mobile devices, with limited carveouts for national security, law enforcement and research purposes. However, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan appear to be active on the platform, their accounts show, despite voting yes or “present” for the bill.

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Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia Among 18 States Banning Social Media App TikTok from State Devices

Following South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem’s lead, nearly half of U.S. states have put restrictions on or banned the use of Chinese-based social media app TikTok.

At least 19 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utha, Virginia and West Virginia.

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ByteDance Confirms Using TikTok to Monitor Journalists

An internal investigation from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has confirmed that its employees used the social media app to track the physical locations of several journalists.

The investigation revealed that several employees had worked to uncover the source of internal leaks and in so doing had used the app to obtain the IP addresses and user data of journalists to determine their physical proximity to any ByteDance employees, according to Forbes.

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Wisconsin’s Gallagher and Illinois’s Krishnamoorthi File Bipartisan TikTok Ban Legislation

A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers this week filed legislation in the House of Representatives to ban the TikTok video-sharing application nationwide. 

Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI-8) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8) submitted their bill in the House of Representatives while Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in his chamber. They call their measure the Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act). It is written broadly enough to possibly prohibit use of other platforms operating under the influence of “a country of concern” such as China or Russia. 

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Commentary: TikTok Needs to Be Destroyed

Twitter was a huge lie, but it was fun. Maybe it’s like television. Elon Musk is having a blast unveiling the conservative-hiding, progressive-promoting plot that was rising up in the complex engineering behind the little blue bird, which leads me to believe that the lovable little critter was actually a big monster. That liberals are outraged by the revelations only proves one thing: cancellation is their erotic dream and their nightmare is freedom. They already enjoyed the former too much. Now, it’s time for the latter.

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Chinese-Owned TikTok Using DHS Programs to Bring Foreign Workers to U.S.

ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the video platform TikTok, is increasingly bringing foreign nationals to work in the U.S. through foreign worker programs overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

This year alone, ByteDance was employing 579 foreign workers through the H-1B program, an increase from previous years, wrote Jon Feere, the center’s director of investigations, in a new report.

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FCC Member: ‘TikTok Is China’s Digital Fentanyl’

Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr said that TikTok is “China’s digital fentanyl” and that the social media platform is “a very sophisticated surveillance app.”

“At the end of the day, TikTok is China’s digital fentanyl,” Carr, a Republican and one of five FCC commissioners, said Friday on Fox News.

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White House Defends TikTok Outreach Amid Bipartisan Security Concerns

On August 9, 2021, Benito Skinner, the Millennial Generation comedian known online as “Benny Drama,” posted a video on TikTok of his day-in-the-life experience as a White House intern, photocopying, making unrequested nail appointments for then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and generally making a mess.

All of it was for laughs, but there was a reason the Biden administration invited him into the West Wing. They wanted Millennials and members of Gen Z to hear a public health message from the TikTok influencer: “We need to get shots in the arms of every single American.”

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TikTok’s Ties to Chinese Propaganda Machine Revealed

Three hundred employees at the parent company of ubiquitous social media app TikTok list Chinese state media outlets in their employment histories, a Forbes investigation of public LinkedIn profile information revealed Thursday.

The investigation may reveal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ties to ByteDance, a Chinese technology company that operates several popular social media apps, through Chinese media organizations that generate CCP propaganda, according to Forbes. The profiles include 23 current directors of ByteDance responsible for “content partnerships, public affairs, corporate social responsibility and media cooperation,” and 15 who may still hold employment status with certain Chinese state-run media outlets, though it’s possible that the LinkedIn profiles were not updated after a change of job status.

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