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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Lawmakers ask DOJ to force TikTok to register as foreign agent

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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A bipartisan group of Congress members is asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to require TikTok to register as a foreign agent. The members have cited evidence to prove it’s necessary for national security, including a Chinese law that requires TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”

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“It’s clear that China is using TikTok as a propaganda machine to influence Americans and collect our data,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said.

“We believe TikTok has met the statutory requirements for registration based on its clear pattern of operating within the United States to spy on the American people and sow propaganda,” Gottheimer and Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., wrote in a letter to Garland.

The Foreign Agent Registration Act requires anyone who works within the U.S. on behalf of another country to register in order to address foreign influence and national security threats.

“TikTok in America is meant to be corrosive, addictive to our youth,” Bacon said. “If you go to China and look at TikTok in China, it was meant to be very educational and aspirational for the Chinese youth.”

The lawmakers are also introducing a new bill, the STOP Hate Act, to crack down on disinformation and terrorism online. 

The STOP Hate Act would: 

  • Require social media companies to release detailed reports of violations to their terms of service and how they are addressing violations.
  • Impose a $5 million fine for every day the companies don’t comply. 
  • Require the Director of National Intelligence to provide a report on the use of social media by terrorist organizations. 

The members found extra motivation to release this proposal after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, and in the wake of the misinformation that has spread online about the war, much of which has been antisemitic.

“They are some of the most profitable companies in the world,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “They’re some of the most innovative companies in the history of business. It is not too much to get them to eject the anti-Zionists. It is not too much to get them to halt the flow of raw hate.”

The bill’s sponsors are members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, so they will have the help of those 60 caucus members to build support for this bill.

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A bipartisan group of Congressmen are asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to require the social media platform TikTok to register as a foreign agent. 

 

“It’s clear that China is using TikTok as a propaganda machine to influence Americans and collect our data,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said. 

 

They wrote in a letter to Garland: “We believe TikTok has met the statutory requirements for registration based on its clear pattern of operating within the United States to spy on the American people and sow propaganda.”

 

The Foreign Agent Registration Act requires anyone who works within the US on behalf of another country to register in order to address foreign influence and national security threats. 

 

“TikTok in America is meant to be corrosive, addictive to our youth,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said. “If you go to China and look at TikTok in China, it was meant to be very educational and aspirational for the Chinese youth.”

 

The lawmakers are also introducing a new bill to crack down on disinformation and terrorism online. 

 

The STOP Hate Act would: 

  • Require social media companies to release detailed reports of violations to their terms of service and how they are addressing violations, 
  • Impose a $5 million fine for every day the companies don’t comply 
  • Require the Director of National Intelligence to provide a report on the use of social media by terrorist organizations. 

 

The members got extra motivation to put this proposal out after the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel and the misinformation that has spread online about the war. 

 

“They are some of the most profitable companies in the world. They’re some of the most innovative companies in the history of business. It is not too much to get them to eject the anti Zionists it is not too much to get them to halt the flow of raw hate,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League said. 

 

The bill’s sponsors are members of the bipartisan problem solvers caucus. So they’ll have the help of those 60 caucus members to build support for this bill.