Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), along with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), led a group of GOP colleagues in calling on all members of Congress “to lead by example” and stop using Communist China-owned TikTok.
They also say House and Senate rules should be amended to make the ban for members of Congress mandatory.
The letter sent to the heads of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Committee on House Administration, notes that several members of Congress still use TikTok and effectively encourage constituents to use the social medida application, even though all members have received security warnings from their respective chamber’s cybersecurity officials.
It is troublesome that some members continue to disregard these clear warnings and are even encouraging their constituents to use TikTok to interface with their elected representatives – especially since some of these users are minors. We feel this situation warrants further action to protect the privacy of both sensitive congressional information and the personal information of our constituents. To that end, we urge you to enact a change to the Senate and House rules to ban members of Congress from using TikTok for official use.”Republican letter
Other Republicans signing onto the Blackburn-Tillis-Crenshaw letter include:
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Florida), Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Georgia), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Michael Guest (R-Mississippi), Greg Pence (R-Indiana), Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), John Moolenaar (R-Michighan), Max Miller (R-Ohio), Rick W. Allen (R-Georgia), and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.).
Read the full letter here or below:
April 17, 2023
Ranking Member Deb Fischer Committee on Rules and Administration United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20530
Ranking Member Joseph Morelle Committee on House Administration U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairwoman Klobuchar, Ranking Member Fischer, Chairman Steil, and Ranking Member Morelle,
We write to you today regarding recent revelations from the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing titled: “TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms.” It is clear from the testimony and comments from TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, that all members of Congress must lead by example and immediately stop using the platform for official communications. As such, we urge you to amend the House and Senate rules to bar members of Congress from continued use of TikTok and take any other appropriate measures to mitigate the risks of this de-facto, spyware app.
Even after the March 23, 2023, hearing, in which it became blatantly clear to the public that the China-based app is mining data and potentially spying on American citizens, members of Congress continue to utilize the app to communicate with their constituents. Some members of Congress who regularly use the app have minimized the security threat to our nation, and their defense is not compelling, considering there are several popular social media apps that are not at the same risk for the potential transfer of sensitive, private information to an adversarial foreign government.
In March 2020, the Senate’s Chief Information Officer issued a Cybersecurity advisory warning on the data vulnerabilities of TikTok. Likewise, the House Chief Administrative Officer warned members of Congress almost a year ago that TikTok is of high-risk to users. It is troublesome that some members continue to disregard these clear warnings and are even encouraging their constituents to use TikTok to interface with their elected representatives – especially since some of these users are minors. We feel this situation warrants further action to protect the privacy of both sensitive congressional information and the personal information of our constituents. To that end, we urge you to enact a change to the Senate and House rules to ban members of Congress from using TikTok for official use.
United States Senator
United States Senator
Dusty Johnson Member of Congress
Anna Paulina Luna Member of Congress
Randy K. Weber, Sr. Member of Congress
Dan Crenshaw Member of Congress
Marsha Blackburn United States Senator
Troy Balderson Member of Congress
Earl L. "Buddy" Carter Member of Congress
Michael Guest Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Randy Feenstra Member of Congress
Max L. Miller Member of Congress
Jack Bergman Member of Congress
Glenn Grothman Member of Congress
John R. Moolenaar Member of Congress
Rick W. Allen Member of Congress
 Cybersecurity Advisory, TikTok Application, March 20, 2020. Available at: https://webster-media.senate.gov/media/filer_public/ed/5a/ed5a84b4-c05a-4b71-8a60-a929dc911107/2020-03- 20_cybersecurity_advisory_-_tiktok_application.pdf
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