Cruz says controversial TikTok bill will ‘benefit’ app users

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in an interview Wednesday that users would benefit from the controversial bill to force TikTok’s parent company, China-based ByteDance, to sell the popular app or face a ban. in United States.

Following a classified intelligence briefing to senators about TikTok, Cruz argued that preventing the Chinese Communist Party from exerting influence over the app’s content would be in the best interest of users and improve the experience on the app.

“For people who use TikTok and enjoy it: It’s not about getting rid of it,” Cruz said in an interview on Fox News with Brett Baier. “This is about forcing China to divest, about getting TikTok out of the control of the Chinese Communist Party, about putting it in the hands of an American company, about putting it in the hands of anyone who is not China or an enemy of the United States.”

“I think it’s very important,” Cruz continued. “And it will benefit TikTok users and everyone else too.”

Cruz described his concerns about China’s connection to the app as twofold: He worries about “the threat it poses of espionage and surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party monitoring” the 170 million Americans who use TikTok.

“They have the ability to monitor what they say, what they do on their phones and where they are. “I think it’s a real risk to the privacy of Americans, who may not realize that the Chinese government has that capability,” Cruz said.

Second, Cruz said, he is concerned about the propaganda push – both for China’s own benefit, for example, by “suppressing information about Tiananmen Square, about Hong Kong, about Tibet” – and in ways that are detrimental to children.

“They are pushing all kinds of harmful garbage at our children. Self-harm, cutting,” Cruz said, adding: “Here they are pressuring our children to chew tide pods.”

Cruz’s comments echo the sentiment of many of his fellow senators, who are trying to reshape the narrative around the bipartisan House-passed TikTok bill, which critics have called a “ban” but which Lawmakers note that it still gives ByteDance 165 days to divest. TikTok and allow the app to continue running in the US

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Wednesday that the “top priority” for him and Vice President Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is to make it clear to the public, especially those approximately 170 million TikTok users in the US, the bill is not intended to eliminate “creativity” or the ability to make money by using the platform.

“It’s about the ability to ensure that the creativity that happens on this platform cannot be manipulated. To make sure that this creativity that is happening on this platform cannot be manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party,” Warner said.

Its effort to change the narrative comes after the company, ahead of the House vote, led a campaign on its app, urging users to call their lawmakers to ask them to block the bill, calling it “ closure of TikTok.”

The Protecting Americans from Solicitations Controlled by Foreign Adversaries Act was still advancing rapidly in the House. It passed out of the House committee in a unanimous vote earlier this month, just days after it was first introduced, and less than a week later was approved in a 352-65 vote on the floor.

Cruz said he hopes the Commerce Committee will, at some point, consider the bill at a markup and hopefully have an open amendment process.

“I’m not convinced that the language the House passed is exactly what will be law, but I’m glad the House is acting to address this very serious threat,” he said.

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