Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called on ESPN to re-evaluate its relationship with the social media company TikTok as a top sponsor.
This comes after the sports network allowed the social media platform to be a main fixture of their NCAA halftime shows.
According to the bipartisan letter sent to ESPN’s Chief Executive James Pitaro on Monday, lawmakers are concerned about the exposure TikTok is receiving from such advertisements; the authors deem the platform a danger to national security.
“As recognized by numerous members of the Biden administration, including CIA Director William Burns, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, TikTok poses a significant threat to U.S. national security,” the letter stated.
“ESPN’s decision to allow TikTok to sponsor halftime shows watched by millions of Americans raises serious questions about ESPN corporate decision-making and risk analysis it conducts when soliciting sponsorships.”
The letter’s joint authors, Mike Gallagher a Republican from Wisconsin and Raja Krishnamoorthi a Democrat from Illinois, are providing a bipartisan approach to the issue of TikTok’s potential threat.
The platform’s status as a Chinese-owned company has raised alarms about its potential use as a data collector for the Chinese Communist Party.
According to The Hill, the app has been banned from use by federal government employees after the passage of the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package.
The two congressmen have warned that the app poses a risk to millions of Americans, tracking browsing history, and cell phone location.
The app’s algorithm and content moderation are also seen as a way for the CCP to exploit America’s political divisions and spread propaganda for the regime.
While TikTok’s parent company ByteDance claims that they are not directly controlled by Chinese officials, the letter points to a 2017 Chinese law that compels all citizens and businesses within China’s jurisdiction to assist in ” intelligence work.”
This includes data sharing for the regime.
In essence, no company in China is truly private.
A representative for TikTok expressed their disappointment in the lawmaker’s efforts to interfere with their arrangement with the sports network, according to The Hill.
“We would welcome the opportunity to share how we are addressing their concerns and familiarize them with the basics of our corporate structure and our policies,” the representative said.
The company denies all connections with the CCP, either directly or indirectly.
Pitaro has been asked to respond to the letter’s questions by Jan. 31 as members of Congress seek to investigate the potential dangers of the app and ESPN’s vetting procedures.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.