(Senator James E. Risch News Release, July 31, 2023)
BOISE, Idaho– Today, U.S. Senator Jim Risch sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan expressing serious concerns about TikTok and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ability to collect and control American user’s personal information through the app. The letter demands answers from the agency regarding how it is safeguarding Americans’ data and protecting our kids and grandkids from Chinese social and political influence.
“Given its connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the way it collects and controls sensitive personal information, TikTok poses one of the greatest long-term threats to the health, safety, and privacy of millions of Americans,” wrote Risch. “. . . TikTok is built like an indoctrination machine, and its user base is comprised of one of the most impressionable and vulnerable populations: children. The nature of TikTok’s application and its content are tailor-made to appeal to younger generations. While some of its content is benign, many users—as young as 13—are fed a constant diet of content linked to dangerous behaviors like eating disorders and self-harm.”
“Every social media company uses algorithms to determine what content is visible to users, but using TikTok comes with particularly serious risks. The company censors topics viewed by the CCP as politically sensitive, denying U.S. citizens access to full information. Even more worrisome, ByteDance employees in China and CCP officials have access to TikTok’s data, as we know from multiple whistleblowers. TikTok has the potential to influence millions of Americans with content that is sympathetic to China,” Risch continued.
The FTC has until October 30, 2023 to respond.
The full letter is available here.