Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) said Thursday that Chinese social media app TikTok should be banned in America, arguing the Chinese Communist Party can use it to brainwash, track, and surveil Americans.
In a Washington Post op-ed, the lawmakers detail the CCP's access to app data and its capabilities for spying. The app has one billion monthly active users and is the most downloaded app in the United States.
"TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is not a state-owned enterprise, but in China, no company is truly private," they wrote, adding that companies are required to share data with the Chinese government.
The app has censored references to the Chinese genocide of Uyghurs and the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square.
TikTok, and its parent company ByteDance, control one of America's central news sources, which could serve as a vehicle for indoctrination, they argue.
The app also has many built-in features that allow it to collect the data and locations of users, including sensitive national security information.
"That TikTok, and by extension the CCP, has the ability to survey every keystroke teenagers enter on their phones is disturbing," the two lawmakers wrote. "With this app, Beijing could also collect sensitive national security information from U.S. government employees and develop profiles on millions of Americans to use for blackmail or espionage."
Rubio and Gallagher said they will introduce legislation to ban the app in the country.