Even as lawmakers across the nation clamp down on Chinese social media platform TikTok over security concerns, the Biden White House has welcomed company lobbyists with open arms on multiple occasions.
The Washington Examiner reported that a records review showed that representatives of TikTok and its parent company ByteDance visited the White House at least eight times between July 2021 and August 2022.
Over a dozen states have enacted prohibitions on their devices being used to access the Chinese app. The Federal Communications Commission has expressed its issues with the massive amount of personal data swept up by the platform, and one commissioner called for its outright ban.
As did former President Donald Trump, though legal challenges thwarted his efforts.
But for the Biden administration, there is no such hesitation. And while the specific topics of discussion are unknown, Heritage Foundation Tech Policy Center director Kara Frederick called the interactions “unequivocally” troublesome.
Report: TikTok lobbyists have made multiple visits to the Biden White House since July 2021 https://t.co/aNRLWqY9tl
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 10, 2023
Frederick told the Examiner that these lobbyists “are doing the dirty work of the Chinese state,” and “they know what they are doing.”
Visitor logs report that one lobbyist, Paul Thornell of the firm Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen, & Thomas, visited the White House three times last year on behalf of ByteDance. The parent company, incidentally, admitted last month to gathering private user data on U.S. journalists.
Meanwhile, Congress is considering an outright ban on TikTok in the U.S. as security experts continue to blast warnings over the company’s gathering of data. Under Chinese law, it is required to share intelligence with the communist government if requested.
Several government agencies have joined the parade of states in banning its usage on issued devices. Included in these are the U.S. military and TSA.
It was revealed just this week that Seattle Public Schools is suing the social media platform along with others. The institution alleges that their proliferation has caused “a mental health crisis among America’s youth,” which led to many young people harming themselves.
All of this is apparently lost on the Biden White House, which has rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese company. With its utter failure over border security, perhaps it is too much to think the administration would take cybersecurity seriously either.