Sen. Rubio slams corporations for remaining on TikTok despite boycotting X

Rubio sent a letter to major corporations calling out the 'double standard' of their boycott

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Marco Rubio sent 18 letters slamming the CEOs of corporations that are boycotting X but market their brand on the China-owned app TikTok. 

"I’m just asking for a little consistency," Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement. "If these corporations are boycotting X out of concern for their reputation, then I expect them to maintain that standard on all social media platforms." 

Rubio sent the letters Tuesday afternoon to Apple, Google, Disney, Microsoft, IBM, Lionsgate, Walmart, Comcast/Xfinity/NBC Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros, Airbnb, Uber, Coca-Cola, Jack in the Box, Netflix, Amazon, The Washington Post and Sony Pictures.


Sen Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio speaks to reporters outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol on July 11, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

"If these companies are truly interested in safeguarding their brand, they should immediately boycott TikTok, which is controlled by Communist China and overflowing with hateful content," Rubio said.

Media Matters, a left-wing nonprofit watchdog group, launched a campaign encouraging companies to boycott X, formerly known as Twitter, "out of concern that their brands could be tarnished by association with antisemitic content that some users have posted on that application," according to Rubio's letter. 

"Due to your company’s apparent concern for its image on social media, I was fascinated to learn that it maintains an active presence on TikTok," Rubio wrote. "That social-media application, through its parent company, ByteDance, is under the jurisdiction and influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a brutal group that seeks to weaken our country and subvert our way of life."

ByteDance is the China-based tech company based in Beijing that owns TikTok. 

Many GOP lawmakers have been urging the federal government to ban TikTok this year after reports of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda remain on the app as well as concerns over data breaches of its users. 


TikTok logo

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a China-based tech company based in Beijing. (Matt Slocum, File / AP Newsroom)

"China's national-security laws give the CCP access to all data managed by Chinese firms, including ByteDance," Rubio wrote. "This means TikTok is a far bigger liability to your company than X, and should be treated accordingly."

Rubio added TikTok is "manipulated" to "serve the interests" of the CCP. A handful of states have moved to ban TikTok from government devices over security concerns. 

TikTok also stirred controversy over reported antisemitic content following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. 

"The type of hate-fueled content that led you to boycott X is also pervasive on TikTok," Rubio wrote.

"For example, content glorifying the terrorist group Hamas exploded on the platform following that group’s massacre of around 1,400 people in Israel on October 7. Pro-Hamas content has been viewed much more frequently on TikTok than pro-Israel content, evidence that the application is placing a finger on the scale of video suggestions."


X logo, a cell phone

The X Premium account of Elon Musk is displayed on a mobile phone screen in a photo illustration, Sept. 19, 2023. (Harun Ozalp/Anadolu Agency via / Getty Images)

Last month, TikTok came under fire after Usama bin Laden's 2002 "Letter to America" went viral on social media and received sympathy from hundreds of young users. 

The letter, published by The Guardian but taken offline Wednesday, blamed U.S. policies for the Sept. 11 attacks. 

TikTok users reacted to the letter, and some said it changed their worldviews. Others went as far as to say they realized bin Laden "was right." Part of bin Laden's letter blamed America for supporting the "Israeli oppression of the Palestinians" and "the occupation" in the Holy Land. 


After the trend gained some traction on TikTok, with 274 videos posted under the hashtag from Tuesday to Wednesday, a compilation of videos was uploaded again to X and gained over 35 million views, surpassing the 1.85 million views originally gained on TikTok.

"I take no position on whether your company should boycott X," Rubio wrote. "You have advertising executives, shareholders, and customers to tell you that. However, I am appalled by the double standard of boycotting an American social-media application while maintaining a presence on a social-media application controlled by America’s greatest adversary."