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Balderson, Carter, Rodgers Condemn TikTok for Spreading Terrorist Propaganda and Antisemitism

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Representatives Troy Balderson (R-OH), Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Chew demanding action to combat the platform’s spread of terrorist propaganda and antisemitic content surrounding Hamas’s unprovoked terrorist attack on Israel.

The letter, signed by 25 members, comes as videos on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-connected platform with the hashtag #freepalestine received 946 million views in a 30-day period. More than half of those views came from young adults ages 18-24. At the same time, a trend glorifying Osama bin Laden and the September 11, 2001, attack on Americans garnered millions of views, demonstrating the app’s influence over young users.

Shou Chew appeared before the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year to discuss his company’s consumer privacy and data security practices. At the hearing, Balderson pressed the TikTok CEO on the potential harm the app poses for young Americans and how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could exploit the TikTok’s data collection for nefarious purposes.

In the letter, the members write: “On October 7, the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, brutally attacked Israel and killed more than 1,400 people. Since this terrorist attack, disinformation related to the conflict has run rampant on your platform, stoking antisemitism, support, and sympathy for Hamas… Many of the younger generations are turning to TikTok rather than search engines and other verifiable sources for their news. You have led these generations to believe that TikTok is an ‘unfiltered’ news source.

The members continue: “This deluge of pro-terrorist content is driving hateful antisemitic rhetoric and violent protests on campuses across the country. The CCP has already co-opted your platform, and it seems TikTok and TikTok’s employees are resigned to becoming a mouthpiece for antisemites, terrorists, and propaganda.” 

The letter was signed by Representatives John Joyce (R-PA), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), Rick W. Allen (R-GA), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Greg Pence (R-IN), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Randy K. Weber (R-TX), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Neal P. Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), August Pfluger (R-TX), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), and John Curtis (R-UT). 

Read the full letter here.

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