Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Sens. Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst Introduce Legislation To Deny Federal Funds To TikTok Business Partners

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James Lynch Reporter
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Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Joni Ernst of Iowa are introducing legislation to deny federal funding for individuals and entities doing business with China-owned social media platform TikTok, the Daily Caller has learned.

Sens. Rubio and Ernst’s “No Funds for Enablers of Adversarial Propaganda Act” would prohibit federal funds for individuals and entities that have an agreement, partnership or advertisement with social media companies associated with countries of concern. Countries of concern include China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, according to the bill. (RELATED: TikTok’s Security Protocols Won’t Prevent China From Spying On American Users, Analysts Warn)

“Chinese-owned TikTok is a threat, but some entities, including our nation’s airports, are still willing to accept advertising dollars from the company. They are either naive, greedy, or both. Regardless, they shouldn’t receive taxpayer dollars if they are going to accept money from or partner with TikTok. These companies need to stop enabling Chinese Communist Party [CCP] propaganda and espionage efforts,” Sen. Rubio told the Caller.

“Make no mistake – TikTok is an insidious platform weaponized by the Chinese Communist Party to snoop on Americans and negatively influence our children,” Sen. Ernst said before introducing the bill. “This bill rightfully ensures that American taxpayers aren’t forced to foot the bill for ads that bolster the CCP’s toxic platform. I’ll always fight to protect taxpayer dollars and our national security.”

READ THE BILL HERE:

No Funds for Enablers of Adversarial Propaganda Act by James Lynch on Scribd

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a China-based tech company with demonstrable ties to the Chinese government. The Biden administration is demanding ByteDance sell TikTok for the app to continue operating in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Wednesday.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) made the demand after conducting a national security review of TikTok’s ties to China. The review was delayed in December because of persistent national security concerns by U.S. officials, after a draft agreement was reportedly negotiated to maintain ByteDance’s ownership.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed concerns about TikTok’s ties to China and its potent recommendation algorithm on multiple occasions. He told Sen. Rubio at a March 8 hearing that TikTok could potentially control software on millions of devices and be used to divide the American people.

Rubio has introduced bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. and introduced a bill with Independent Maine Sen. Angus King to prevent transactions from any social media company influenced by “foreign countries of concern.” Congress recently passed legislation banning TikTok from government devices after a wave of states did so due to national security concerns.

TikTok is the most popular social media app with teenagers and a growing number of them are relying on the platform for news, Pew Research data shows. China-based employees of the company reportedly accessed U.S. user data on multiple occasions and spied on journalist Emily Baker-White, who published critical reports about the platform.

TikTok has pledged to create a subsidiary for U.S. user data to be stored on third party servers overseen by Oracle and a board of national security experts, according to Reuters. The firm’s CEO is expected to tell Congress that the proposed subsidiary will protect American data from Chinese influence, WSJ reported Thursday. Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23.

TikTok did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.