Rubio Blasts Brands Boycotting X, Still on CCP-Tied TikTok

December 13th, 2023 3:16 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) denounced multiple brands that pulled their advertising from X, but have refused to address the national security risks of Chinese-owned TikTok.

Rubio issued a press release announcing he sent letters to 18 companies that were too squeamish to advertise on Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter), but remain active on TikTok, which has Chinese Communist government ties. “I am appalled by the double standard of boycotting an American social-media application while maintaining a presence on a social-media application controlled by America’s greatest adversary,” Rubio wrote in the letter. He pointed out the biased censorship and prolific pro-terrorist content on TikTok, along with its ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government through its parent company, ByteDance. As the senator noted, China’s national security laws require all companies to share data with the government.

The hypocrisy is flagrant, Rubio noted. “Following the logic of the X boycott, your brand is now in imminent danger of being tarnished by association with the deranged, genocidal content found on TikTok,” he said. “Your brand also risks association with TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, which collaborates with the CCP to repress the Chinese people and interfere in America’s political process.”

The senator provided a list of serious concerns with TikTok, including potential CCP data access through ByteDance and biased censorship, particularly of content regarding Tibet, the Uyghurs, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Rubio further noted the disturbing amount and popularity of “content glorifying the terrorist group Hamas” on TikTok during the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict. TikTok previously boasted of censoring 500,000 videos about the conflict, but Rubio’s accusations indicate the app’s bias against Israel. The CCP has sided with Hamas in the current conflict.

Rubio further accused ByteDance of using TikTok “to spy on American journalists” and claimed that the “company’s CEO blatantly lied under oath when he denied that TikTok stores U.S. user data in China.”

The senator sent letters to Google, Apple, Disney, Microsoft, Walmart, IBM, Lionsgate, Netflix, Amazon, Comcast/Xfinity/NBC Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros, Jack in the Box, Uber, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, The Washington Post, and Sony Pictures.

Rubio argued, “TikTok is a far bigger liability to your company than X, and should be treated accordingly.” He added, “There is little doubt that TikTok is manipulated to serve the interests of the ruling CCP.”

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