Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, stated over the weekend that she doesn’t support a ban total on TikTok. She claimed it would be “unprecedented.”
“Do you believe TikTok should not be allowed? No. Why shouldn’t TikTok be banned? First, it’s important that we discuss how unusual a move this would make,” she said on Saturday following a congressional hearing about the social media app.
The United States has never banned social media companies from being in existence or from operating within our borders. The app is used by more than 150 million Americans,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the “egregious amount” of data harvesting done by the Chinese-backed app. This was despite the CEO not being able fully to guarantee that the Chinese government would not have access to TikTok user information. Ocasio-Cortez suggested Congress should protect Americans from data harvesting, rather than banning specific companies like TikTok.
The congresswoman set up a TikTok account over the weekend that has almost 400,000 followers. In her first TikTok Video, she addressed some of her concerns about the United States banning social media platforms. However, there is a growing bipartisan push to ban Chinese social media apps due to national security concerns.
After the popular Chinese social media app was banned from US government devices, a provision was added in the $1.7 trillion Omnibus Spending Bill President Joe Biden signed into Law — because it could pose a national security risk. Similar actions were taken by several governors at the state level.
The U.S. Senate currently has legislation that, backed by Biden’s administration, would allow the secretary of Commerce “ban or prohibit” foreign technology entering the United States from six hostile nations. This would eventually include TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance. The bipartisan legislation isn’t TikTok’s first encounter with the U.S. trying to kill the social media app. The Trump administration attempted to ban TikTok in 2020. This led to the parent company of the Chinese social media app selling the platform to an American firm.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing last week with Shou Zi Chew, TikTok CEO. Representatives of Congress interrogated him about his concerns about the social media app. One instance was when Rep. Bob Latta (R.OH) was able get Chew to admit that TikTok employees have access to U.S. user information.
Latta asked Chew if any ByteDance engineers in China have access to U.S. data. Chew replied, “After Project Texas is finished, the answer to that is no.” There is still data we need to delete today.
Another instance was when Rep. Kat Cammack (R.FL) asked Chew about ByteDance’s access to millions of Americans who use the app. Cammack asked Chew questions about user data access and he replied, “Some user data are public data, congresswoman. This means that everybody can search it on the internet.”