Biggs Explains Vote Against TikTok Ban, 'Not a Serious Attempt to Thwart China'

Biggs Explains Vote Against TikTok Ban, 'Not a Serious Attempt to Thwart China'

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 14, 2024

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill concerning social media app TikTok by an overwhelming majority, though a handful of Republicans voted against the measure, including Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ). In a brief statement, he explained his vote, saying the bill "is not a serious attempt to thwart China’s influence or data collection in the United States."

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, as the bill is named, would shut down the social media app TikTok in the United States unless its parent company ByteDance divests from the app, setting a 165-day deadline.

Former Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has recently expressed interest in buying TikTok from ByteDance, saying, "It's a great business and I'm going to put together a group to buy TikTok."

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Rep. Biggs was not satisfied with the bill, saying it "is not a serious attempt to thwart China’s influence or data collection in the United States. It’s a micro step [sic] that only gives the appearance of protecting Americans from adversarial nations while doing little more than forcing [the] divestiture of China’s ownership in the data collection company."

Additionally, he pointed out that TikTok is far less of a concern when China "controls our supply chains and our access to critical minerals, facilitates the flow of fentanyl into the country, and owns our national debt is almost laughable."

Moreover, Rep. Biggs pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would find another means of accessing Americans' data anyway and declared, "It’s time we get serious about restoring our independence from China and truly protecting Americans’ privacy from both foreign and domestic spying agencies."

Representative Greg Steube (R-FL), one of the other Republicans who voted against the bill, similarly argued that "its text could be weaponized against conservatives and social media sites like X and Truth Social."

The inclusion of "domestic spying agencies" in Biggs' remarks likely alludes to a statement he and Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH) released at the end of February, when President Biden issued an executive order intending to curb the purchase of private data by foreign countries, yet exempted domestic surveillance agencies.

"The Biden Administration cannot pretend to support Americans’ privacy rights while undermining them in the U.S. by opposing closing the data broker loophole domestically," Biggs and Rep. Davidson noted.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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