Republican U.S. Senate nominee Katie Britt is sounding the alarm over the national security risks posed by the Chinese Communist Party and popular social media platform TikTok.
Former President Donald Trump in 2020 cited privacy concerns and TikTok’s Beijing-based ownership holding ties to China as he considered banning the platform from the United States.
Trump would eventually issue an executive order banning the app if ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, refused to sell its stake in the platform. In his executive order, Trump asserted there was “credible evidence” that ByteDance “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
A legal battle ensued attempting to block the Trump administration’s efforts, which resulted in a federal court issuing a preliminary injunction preventing the ban from going into effect.
In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order reversing Trump’s ban. Since then, the social media platform has garnered intense bipartisan scrutiny due to concerns that China could gain access to Americans’ sensitive data.
Britt, the leading candidate for the seat held by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa), tweeted Monday that TikTok was “a Trojan horse that steals data to give to the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok is a Trojan horse that steals data to give to the Chinese Communist Party.
— Katie Britt for AL (@KatieBrittforAL) September 26, 2022
In a statement to Yellowhammer News following up on the candidate’s tweet, Britt doubled down on her concerns over TikTok posing a “serious national security risk” to American users.
“As parents, we used to be able to keep our children safe at night by locking the doors. However, as technology has advanced, it is clear that the danger can now be inside our homes on our devices,” said Britt. “While I share the same concerns related to TikTok about the quiet damage that social media apps in general are doing to our children, TikTok is uniquely dangerous in that it’s also a serious national security risk.
“This is something that has been affirmed previously by the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, and these concerns are shared across the aisle — including by the Democratic chair and Republican vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
China is the “greatest adversary” of the United States, according to the Republican U.S. Senate hopeful.
“Whether it’s American citizens’ biometric data or data such as birth dates, phone numbers, behavioral targeting results, or device identification information, it is reckless and dangerous to risk the Chinese Communist Party having access,” said Britt. “We must not lose sight of the fact that the CCP is our greatest adversary, and everything they do comes through a lens of trying to gain leverage at our expense.”
Declaring China “cannot be trusted,” Britt noted the dictatorial political party’s aggressive posture toward the United States.
“The CCP is a regime that is committing genocide against its own people, routinely engages in human rights abuses, viscously stifles democracy and free speech, and seeks to undermine American interests at every turn, from stealing our intellectual property and undercutting our steel makers and Gulf shrimpers to buying up American farmland near military installations and launching cyber attacks across the globe,” she said. “They cannot be trusted.
“I will work tirelessly in the Senate to protect our children and our national security interests.”
Britt will face Democrat Will Boyd in the Nov. 8 general election.
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL