Former Senior Obama Adviser Claims GOP Concerns Over TikTok ‘Bad Faith’

Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior advisor to Barack Obama, has criticized Republicans over their push to ban TikTok, a Chinese social media app that has aroused national security concerns.

In a tweet on March 24, Pfeiffer wrote, “The Republicans see the issue as a win-win. If Biden doesn’t ban TikTok, they can paint him as soft on China. If Biden does ban TikTok, he risks alienating the young voters who put him over the top in 2020. Per usual from the GOP, it’s bad faith BS.”

The day before Pfeiffer’s tweet, TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, but was unable to convince lawmakers that TikTok did not pose a national security risk due to its ownership by China-based parent company ByteDance.

At the hearing, congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio) asked Chew whether ByteDance’s engineers had access to Americans’ user data. Chew could not give a simple “no” response and replied that it was a “complex topic.”

Chew stated that a company initiative called “Project Texas” would eventually transfer all U.S. user data to Oracle-based cloud infrastructure in the United States.

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said that following Chew’s testimony, the United States had “legitimate national security concerns” over TikTok.

A day after Pfeiffer made his tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voiced her opposition to a TikTok ban.

In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Do I believe TikTok should be banned? No. Why should TikTok not be banned?” She added: “The United States has never before banned a social media company from existence, from operating in our borders, and this is an app that has over 150 million Americans on it.”

Ocasio-Cortez stated that arguments in favor of a ban, including concerns about China’s surveillance of Americans, were missing the point.

“So to me, the solution here is not to ban an individual company, but to actually protect Americans from this kind of egregious data harvesting, that companies can do without your significant ability to say no,” she said.

Last week, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) held a press conference with TikTok influencers opposing any ban on the Chinese social media app.

“Big tech needs to be regulated to protect Americans’ data and privacy, but banning apps and limiting our freedom of expression is not the answer,” Garcia wrote on Twitter a day after the joint conference.

Democrat Response

Some Democrats, however, support banning TikTok.

“Anyone defending @tiktok_us is either too caught up in being a social media celebrity or they’ve been brainwashed by the Chinese government’s propaganda. Both put our national security at risk,” wrote Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) on Twitter on March 23. “We need to ban TikTok or force the sale of its U.S. operations to an American company.”

“We know that the Chinese government views the U.S. as an enemy, we know that they are actively trying to spy on us and compromise our critical infrastructure, and we know that TikTok gives them access to millions of Americans’ data,” he added. “China can control what our kids see and consume.”

On March 24, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) tweeted that TikTok “isn’t just an innocent app for viral videos.

“It’s a threat to our democracy. We can’t ban it soon enough,” Bennet wrote.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill), ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, told ABC that Chew’s testimony “created more concerns.”

“Project Texas is a mess,” Krishnamoorthi said. “There are whistleblowers coming forward saying that whatever the TikTok management is saying about Project Texas is a pack of lies, and that even when they erected this firewall, supposed firewall with regard to data of American users, these Chinese employees of ByteDance, the parent company, were able to spy on American journalists.”

“We have to recognize that while TikTok is another social media app and we have a generalized concern about these social media apps, it’s different in kind from any other social media app because its parent company is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.”

TikTok has already been banned by the federal and several state governments from government devices.

" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."
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