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U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro Explains TikTok Ban Bill

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U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro discusses the House’s passage of the TikTok ban bill, and the “bigger issue” of social media data harvesting.
the details
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will ban TikTok unless Chinese parent company ByteDance sells it. The legislation cites national security concerns, with lawmakers fearing the Chinese...
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Show transcript
00:00
OK, so everyone is talking about the tiktok ban,
00:02
right? The app could be banned if its Chinese owner doesn't
00:06
sell to a US buyer.
00:08
A bill was just passed in the House of Representatives.
00:11
Both sides coming together for that dude.
00:14
Like that is actually unheard of.
00:17
but I mean,
00:17
there's pros and cons right on the bad side,
00:19
tiktok, which is actually banned in China and that says a
00:23
lot. That is weird.
00:25
It's so weird. The app could be used by the
00:28
Chinese government to influence us politics or worse.
00:31
Two years ago, Tik Tok got into the private account of
00:35
two journalists who were writing about them.
00:38
What? Yeah, like talk about abuse of power on the
00:43
plus millions of small businesses use it for marketing.
00:46
It's a great place to see videos from all over the world
00:49
Plus girl, my for you page is finally popping like
00:53
I, I love it.
00:53
I love it. She knows what's up with me.
00:57
Like they know what I'm thinking.
00:59
Wait, is that the government?
01:02
Anyway? Today we have Congressman Joaquin Castro to tell us
01:05
his thoughts on the bill.
01:07
Hi, Congressman. Hey,
01:09
good to be with you all.
01:09
Thank you so much for joining us.
01:11
So you voted no on the bill.
01:13
Both you and a OC have said that the bill is
01:17
rushed. What do you mean by that?
01:19
Yeah, there's been talk for years.
01:21
It started with Donald Trump about banning tiktok and he actually tried
01:26
to do that and it was kicked out by the courts.
01:28
A and this bill was put forward in one committee.
01:33
And but the whole Congress,
01:35
in other words, the whole House of Representatives never had a
01:38
chance to offer amendments or try to improve the bill or change
01:41
it in any way.
01:42
And you know, and also it was put on the floor
01:45
for a vote pretty quickly once it came out of the committee
01:48
So that's why I said it was really rushed and there
01:51
should be more time both for members of Congress,
01:53
but also for the American people to look at the legislation and
01:57
to make suggestions about changing it or approving it.
02:00
And that just didn't happen this time as a member of the
02:03
intelligence committee, what are your fears about the company that owns
02:06
Tik Tok? And if they don't sell well,
02:09
I said on social media that there's legitimate concerns about how the
02:13
Chinese government how it's able to draw down data from Tik
02:18
Tok through Bytedance because China requires companies that are based in
02:24
China to provide them data when they ask for it So
02:27
the Chinese government actually has a lot of power over its companies
02:31
So there is a real national security concern.
02:34
But there's also been no definitive proof that we've been provided
02:39
that Americans data has,
02:41
has been provided to the Chinese government.
02:43
You know, we kept trying to ask or,
02:45
or figure out some definitive answer or proof that there was and
02:50
none was provided again,
02:52
that's not to say that the possibility isn't there,
02:54
that the threat isn't there.
02:57
But we needed more time to sort out exactly what was
03:00
going on and also try to improve the bill.
03:05
Many young people worried Tik Tok is a great source of news
03:09
What do you think could replace it?
03:11
Well, listen, I think they're right.
03:13
I mean, it's obviously the app is very popular in the
03:15
United States. It's got,
03:16
I think like 100 and 70 million users who have accounts in
03:20
the United States. It's a source of news for people.
03:23
It's a source of entertainment.
03:25
It's a source of,
03:26
of income of people on small business entrepreneurs use it to literally
03:31
to for their livelihoods to make money.
03:33
And so it would be tough to replace now that
03:37
said, of course,
03:38
there's reels on Instagram,
03:39
for example, which is a similar type of platform.
03:43
But I mean,
03:44
it would be a big hit for people,
03:46
not just like trying to replace it because it's a source of
03:49
entertainment, but for a lot of people,
03:51
it's become a, a important part of their livelihood,
03:53
an important part of the American economy,
03:55
most definitely. And what are members of Congress like yourself
03:59
doing to limit how companies even American ones handle user data is
04:05
not necessarily going after one particular social media company,
04:09
but really trying to figure out how we limit how all social
04:13
media companies can take your data,
04:15
your information and then use it themselves or sell it,
04:19
become data brokers and sell it to other companies who are using
04:24
it. And that was another thing with tiktok is that
04:27
even if you took away their ability to collect data,
04:30
even e even if you change the ownership of the company,
04:33
China could still buy a lot of that data basically from
04:37
other social media apps and companies that collect it.
04:41
So we've got to take on that bigger challenge of figuring
04:45
out how we limit how social media companies collect and use people's
04:49
data. Listen, I think it's safe to say we are
04:51
more than just our data.
04:53
OK? Like don't abuse that,
04:55
please. Come on.
04:57
Definitely. Oh my gosh.
04:59
Well, Congressman, Joaquin Castro,
05:01
thank you so much for joining us today.
05:03
This is really,
05:04
really valuable insight and we hope to hear from you soon.
05:07
Hopefully with some happier news.
05:09
Absolutely. We'll see you all next time.
05:11
Sounds good. Thank you.