Republican Senator Calls Out Companies for Remaining on TikTok While Boycotting X

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Earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said TikTok ‘screams’ of national security risks.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has criticized companies including Comcast and Disney for having a double standard regarding their recent decision to boycott U.S. social media app X, as they’ve not done the same with Chinese-owned TikTok.

In letters sent to the CEOs of 18 companies on Dec. 12, Mr. Rubio, a senior member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, said his office had conducted a review and found that their boycott “originated with the left-wing advocacy group” Media Matters. X, formerly Twitter, has filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit for defamation for charging the platform with promoting pro-Nazi content.

“Supposedly, companies are boycotting X out of concern that their brands could be tarnished by association with antisemitic content that some users have posted on that application,” the senator wrote.

Mr. Rubio emphasized that he takes “no position” on whether companies should boycott X. However, he said that he believes that companies should recognize how their brand is tarnished by being on TikTok if they are concerned about their public image.

“Due to your company’s apparent concern for its image on social media, I was fascinated to learn that it maintains an active presence on TikTok. That social media application, through its parent company, ByteDance, is under the jurisdiction and influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a brutal group that seeks to weaken our country and subvert our way of life,” he added.

Mr. Rubio’s letters were sent to Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Disney, Google, IBM, Jack in the Box, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Netflix, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Uber, Walmart, Warner Bros. Discovery, and The Washington Post.

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The White House, the U.S. armed forces, and more than 30 U.S. states have already banned TikTok. New York City joined the ban in August, saying the Chinese app “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks.”

In his letter, Mr. Rubio detailed different reasons that Americans shouldn’t use TikTok.

“China’s national-security laws give the CCP access to all data managed by Chinese firms, including ByteDance. This means TikTok is a far bigger liability to your company than X, and should be treated accordingly,” Mr. Rubio wrote.

‘Double Standard’

He added that TikTok content glorifying the Hamas terrorist group “exploded on the platform” since Oct. 7, the day Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel.

“Millions of users have also been exposed to videos glorifying Osama bin Laden and his post-9/11 manifesto,” Mr. Rubio added. “This content furthers the CCP’s strategy of distracting, dividing, and dumbing down Americans, giving the CCP an open field to pursue its objectives.”
Although the United States has stepped up its efforts to counter threats posed by the CCP, the Chinese regime is “playing the long game” to infiltrate U.S. politics at every level. The communist regime is using different methods of subversion and unrestricted warfare to undermine the United States.
On Dec. 12, the House Select Committee on the CCP issued a report recommending that the United States “reset” its relationship with China by raising tariffs and cutting off capital flows.

Mr. Rubio also pointed to past media reports, including a 2022 report by Forbes, revealing that ByteDance employees used TikTok to improperly track American journalists.

“The company’s CEO blatantly lied under oath when he denied that TikTok stores U.S. user data in China, providing further evidence that the application and its founder cannot be trusted,” Mr. Rubio wrote.

During a congressional hearing in March, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew refused to take a position on whether the CCP has persecuted Uyghurs. Several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have declared China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.”

“I take no position on whether your company should boycott X. You have advertising executives, shareholders, and customers to tell you that,” Mr. Rubio wrote. “However, 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.

“If your company believes it is necessary to cut ties with X, I expect you to cut ties with TikTok, as well—and soon.”

The Epoch Times contacted the 18 companies for comment but received none by press time.

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