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Ro Khanna says TikTok bill is not ‘actually addressing the issue’

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said the TikTok bill passed by the House last week is not “actually addressing the issue.”

Khanna, who voted against the bill, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that while the two national security issues cited in the bill are “legitimate,” the legislation still does not address them. He said the two issues at hand are whether the data can get to a foreign government and whether the Chinese Communist Party has an influence on algorithms.

“Let’s ban any data going to a foreign country and protect American data. Second, let’s ban any foreign interference in a social media app, whether that’s TikTok or another app,” he told co-host Martha Raddatz.

“And, by the way, those laws would also cover data brokers, which are selling data to a Chinese company. So this bill is not actually addressing the issue. Seventy-one percent of Americans want to protect data privacy. Only 31 percent want a ban on TikTok. Congress, A, doesn’t understand, in my view, all of the social media and how it’s working, and, B, is out of touch with what the American people want,” he added.

The bill would require ByteDance — the China-based parent company of TikTok — to divest itself of the video app or face a ban on the platform in the U.S. It’s not clear if the Senate will pass the legislation yet, but President Biden has said he will sign it if it makes it to his desk.

Khanna said Sunday that Congress should look to consider other legislation that will address the root of the issue. He said Congress should pass a law holding TikTok and Oracle, which manages the platform’s data, accountable if the data is sent to China.

“So, pass a law, one, to prevent these apps, whether it’s TikTok or Facebook or YouTube, for collecting data. That bill has been sitting in the House Commerce Committee for years, and it doesn’t move,” he said. “Second, pass a law that if there’s evidence that the data goes to China, then Oracle and TikTok would be held liable, civilly or criminally.”

“Third, pass a law that if Chinese nationals are involved in the algorithms, people are claiming these algorithms are manipulating Americans. If there’s any information — insight evidence that a Chinese national or any foreign national is manipulating algorithms, that would be illegal,” he added.

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