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House China panel chair urges Biden to ‘reverse course’ on TikTok

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), the chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is urging President Biden to “reverse course” on his campaign joining video-streaming platform TikTok.

“If we continue to go down this road, we are going to effectively cede control of our news media to a hostile foreign country,” Gallagher said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. “That’s unacceptable. I urge the president’s, you know, Gen Z TikTok adult campaign staffers to reverse course in the interest of national security.”

Biden’s campaign joined TikTok over the weekend, debuting its presence with a video of Biden watching the Super Bowl and answering questions about the big game. Since then, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed worry about him joining the platform, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, given concerns about the security of U.S. data on TikTok and the relationship between ByteDance and the Chinese government.

Gallagher pointed out that some members of Biden’s cabinet have said TikTok poses national security concerns, including FBI Director Christopher Wray. TikTok has been banned on government devices in numerous states and is also banned from federal government devices due to such concerns.

“So here you have Biden’s handpicked advisers, telling him that this is effectively a CCP tool or weapon and yet he’s ignoring that. Why? To court, the votes of antisemitic 18 year olds, to get progressive clicks in a campaign season,” Gallagher said.

“It’s not a serious move. It’s not serious leadership. It’s not the move of a serious country,” he added.

Gallagher, who is not running for reelection, suggested that the popular platform should be banned in the United States. A group of lawmakers urged the Biden administration last week to add ByteDance to its export control list to “address critical vulnerabilities created by the company’s access to U.S. software.”

“And by the way, India banned TikTok and it wasn’t the apocalypse inside of India. They have a flourishing tech and social media ecosystem there. And I think we must do the same, either a ban or a for sale or separation makes the most sense,” Gallagher said.

He also said he would work with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to help address security concerns surround TikTok. Warner said he was worried about the Biden campaign’s move to join TikTok on Monday.

“I think at the end of the day, the Chinese Communist Party ­can not only get access to the data, but also, more importantly, can potentially drive the algorithms in terms of what you’re seeing,” Warner said, adding that he is “a little worried about a mixed message.”

TikTok has pushed back against allegations that it poses a national security threat.

The Hill has reached out to Biden’s campaign for comment.

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