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Rubio and Ernst seek to punish TikTok's business partners with bill

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 3/17/2023 Samantha-Jo Roth
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Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (FL) and Joni Ernst (IA) introduced new legislation Friday that would deny federal funding for those engaged in business with TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media platform.

The No Funds for Enablers of Adversarial Propaganda Act would prohibit federal funding for people and entities that have an agreement, partnership, or advertisement with social media companies associated with foreign adversaries — which include China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.


“Chinese-owned TikTok is a threat, but some entities, including our nation’s airports, are still willing to accept advertising dollars from the company,” said Rubio in a statement. “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 propaganda and espionage efforts.”

The bill comes days before TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he will discuss the social media app’s data privacy and security practices.

The app’s ties to the Chinese government continue to raise concerns from U.S. government officials who say TikTok could weaponize its collection of user data. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that the app could be used to spread misinformation.

"This is a tool that is ultimately within the control of the Chinese government, and it, to me, it screams out with national security concerns," Wray said.

The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok from the United States unless its Chinese owners agree to sell their stakes in the company. Earlier in the year, the White House mandated all federal agencies to remove TikTok from government-issued devices due to national security concerns. TikTok and the Biden administration have been negotiating for more than two years on data security requirements, but some lawmakers are getting impatient.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill last Tuesday that would give the federal government broader authority to regulate and ban foreign-linked technology, which was later endorsed by the White House.


In addition to the Senate bill, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and his counterpart on the China select committee, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), have put forth a bill to ban the app outright in addition to a bill from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX).

In mid-February, Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Rubio introduced legislation to ban social media platforms like TikTok if they are owned by adversarial foreign regimes.


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Tags: News, Senate Republicans, Congress, Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, Biden Administration, Social Media

Original Author: Samantha-Jo Roth

Original Location: Rubio and Ernst seek to punish TikTok's business partners with bill


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