Advancing Justice - AAJC Opposes Hypocritical Ban on TikTok: Calls for Comprehensive Privacy Legislation Instead

Advancing Justice | AAJC comments on President Biden's signing of TikTok provision in aid bill
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington D.C. — Earlier this week, President Biden signed a law containing a provision effectively banning popular social media application TikTok unless parent company ByteDance divests within a year. TikTok has approximately 170 million active monthly users, and more than one third of young people regularly use the application as a news source. 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC) issues the following statement in response to the signing of this bill.

“Calls to single out and ban TikTok for privacy-based offenses that are regularly committed by American-owned companies like Meta and Alphabet are extremely hypocritical and steeped in xenophobia. To date, no credible evidence exists that TikTok poses a national security threat, and it is racist to claim so simply because it is owned by a Chinese company.

TikTok’s users have expressed wide-spread opposition to these efforts, in part due to the community they have cultivated on the application. Others question whether TikTok has been targeted because its users often use it as a news source. Congress should not run the risk of limiting First Amendment freedoms to appease xenophobes within its ranks. 

In addition, broad language around "foreign adversary control" leaves wide gaps that could impact other Chinese-owned applications, such as WeChat; this would be a devastating blow for countless Chinese-Americans who use the application to keep in touch with friends and family both within the United States and back in China.

Rather than cherry-picking platforms to ban, Congress should ensure comprehensive privacy legislation that protects American users’ data and digital privacy across all internet platforms (and corporations/entities).