Eight Big Tech companies and one tech industry group all went radio silent when MRC Free Speech America asked whether communist Chinese government-tied TikTok should be banned in the U.S.
MRC Free Speech America emailed leftist Big Tech giants Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Instagram, Amazon and YouTube to ask for the companies’ opinions on TikTok and whether or not the app should be banned. Meta- and Google-funded tech industry group NetChoice was also asked for comment.
A growing bipartisan consensus is condemning TikTok, which is owned by communist Chinese government-linked ByteDance, as a national security risk for its massive data collection and tracking schemes.
Even the previously pro-TikTok Biden administration did a 180-degree turnaround and issued a TikTok ban for government devices just before it was discovered that TikTok trackers were found embedded on state government websites.
But that doesn’t seem to concern Big Tech, which prefers to stay mum on their popular anti-free speech competitor’s security dangers. NetChoice, whose association includes TikTok, Google, Meta, Amazon, and Twitter, did not respond either. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owns a financial stake and board seat in TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Fox News China expert Gordon Chang suggested in exclusive comments to MRC Free Speech America that some of the tech companies might simply want to refrain from antagonizing TikTok as they don’t control national security policies.
“They figure that the best thing to do is just keep a low profile,” he said. “The Biden administration, that’s their responsibility.” He added, “Companies will do what they’re permitted to do to make money.” He said it was even more a failure of the national security community than of the business community.
“You’ve got a malicious regime that is using TikTok to destroy American society,” Chang insisted. “We’ve got to protect ourselves.” The First Amendment doesn’t cover Chinese-owned national security risks, he also analyzed.
Chang did note that Apple, with its reliance on Chinese manufacturing (and a secret $275 billion 2016 deal), which the CCP itself touts, might have a double motive in refusing to respond. Apple “not only manufactures in China, but it sells to Chinese customers,” he said. “I’m sure that they don’t want to antagonize Beijing.” Apple not only didn’t respond to an email request for comment from MRC, an Apple representative claimed on the phone that the company gives no comments to any journalist that doesn’t pay Apple for special “press credentials.”
TikTok needs to be banned altogether or sold to an American owner, Chang concluded.
MRC Free Speech America noted to all eight tech companies that the CEO of TikTok is set to testify before Congress this week. In addition, MRC also noted in its inquiries that the Biden administration issued a TikTok ban from government devices. MRC then asked for each company’s “opinion on TikTok and whether it should be banned as a national security risk.” MRC Free Speech America received no response as of the publication of this article.
TikTok collects extremely detailed data from American users, including faceprints, location data, device system and model information, file and app names and even a user’s activity across multiple devices. A BuzzFeed report and whistleblower testimony uncovered that Chinese employees can still access data from U.S. devices.
All Chinese companies are required to share their data, including non-public data, with the communist government in Beijing. All Chinese companies are directly answerable to and surveilled by the CCP. China further practices “civil-military fusion,” which means that everything in the economic and tech spheres is accessible to the CCP’s military. That’s serious stuff—so why does Big Tech not seem to care?
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