Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio called for a review Wednesday of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, which allows users to create short musical or comedic videos, amid concerns that they are “censoring content in line with China’s communist government directives.”
In a series of tweets, Rubio said that there was “ample [and] growing evidence” of censorship on TikTok — the popular app which was first acquired by Musical.ly in 2017 and later bought by the Chinese company ByteDance Technology — in order to please Chinese censors. (RELATED: Elite American Institutions Keep Bowing To Communist China)
Ample & growing evidence exists that TikTok’s platform for western markets, including the U.S., are censoring content in line with #China’s communist government directives.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 9, 2019
Rubio called on the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), who reviews security risks of foreign acquisitions of United States companies to look into evidence of censorship.
Rubio says that he has “already formally asked Trump administration to fully enforce anti-boycott laws” against TikTok and any other company “that [prohibits] any U.S. person — including U.S. subsidiaries of Chinese companies — from complying with foreign boycotts seeking to coerce U.S. companies to conform with China’s government views.”
According to The Guardian, leaked documents showed that the company had taken steps to censor video content that included references to “Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence and the banned religious group Falun Gong,” presumably at the behest of the Chinese government.
This news comes on the heels of the recent NBA controversy, in which Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey deleted a tweet critical of the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong. The tweet led to business concerns for the team after it upset the Chinese government, who has strong ties to the NBA and their business partners. (RELATED: Sen. Hawley Thrashes NBA Commissioner Who Apologized To China For Houston Rocket GM’s Pro-Hong Kong Remarks)
This led to a public outcry among many Americans, including Senator Marco Rubio, who called the incident “bigger than the NBA,” saying that it was about “China’s growing ability to restrict freedom of expression here in the U.S.”
This isn’t the first time an American company has caved in to the wishes of Chinese censors. Just days ago, Apple got rid of the Taiwanese flag emoji for people in Hong Kong and Macau, Quartz reported. Similarly, Vans faced backlash after they removed a shoe design that was inspired by the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Moreover, Marriott recently apologized and to China after not listing Taiwan as part of the country.