Tom Cotton on TikTok CEO: Deport Him
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Thursday said TikTok CEO Shou Chew should be “deported immediately” following what the senator described as “disgraceful” testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
“@tiktok_us CEO Shou Chew’s disgraceful testimony today is beneath contempt. He should be deported immediately and never again allowed to re-enter our country,” Cotton declared, adding that “every employee of TikTok in our country should be forced to register as a foreign agent, as should every one of their lobbyists, PR flaks, and lawyers.”
“They should also hang their heads in shame after shilling for a Chinese Communist Trojan Horse,” Cotton added.
Cotton’s remark follows TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s Thursday testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in which he denied the use of the term “spying” to describe the actions of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Notably, the FBI and Department of Justice have reportedly launched investigations into ByteDance after the company “acknowledged firing four employees for using the app to track the whereabouts of two journalists in the United States,” as Breitbart News reported.
“I don’t think that ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it,” Chew said during the hearing.
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) also grilled Chew on ByteDance having access to data of the millions of Americans.
“My colleague Rep. [Bob] Latta confirmed that your parent company ByteDance currently can access user data, yes?” she asked as Chew asked her to be “more specific.”
“Some user data is public data, congresswoman, which means everybody can search for it on the internet,” he eventually admitted as he defended the app, asserting that reports of the parent company being owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a “misconception,” despite the fact that some of the parent company’s top employees are members of the government. Cammack made that point during the hearing.
“The interesting thing to me is that ByteDance, your parent company, has gone out of their way to hide and airbrush corporate structure, ties to the CCP, the company’s founder, and their activities,” she said.
Further, Chew admitted during a line of questioning with Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) that TikTok tracks the app user’s individual keystrokes.
The hearing resulted in several lawmakers announcing their support for banning TikTok, with others across social media describing the testimony as an “abject disaster” for TikTok.
“Let’s put it to a vote,” Sen, Josh Hawley (R-MO) said following the hearing during an appearance on Ingraham Angle. “Let’s just see what the tally is. Let’s see who’s willing to ban this thing.”
A December Rasmussen Reports survey found most believing that China is using the app to “collect sensitive national security information from U.S. government employees” and supporting federal legislation to ban the China-owned app.