U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made her first video on TikTok and used the platform to defend the communist Chinese app from being banned nationwide after TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, donated six figures to a Hispanic caucus of which she is a member.
(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)
“Banning TikTok isn’t the solution to data privacy concerns,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Instead, Congress needs to focus on regulating social media companies’ unchecked habit of collecting user data without their consent.”
“To me, the solution here is not to ban an individual company, but to actually protect Americans from this kind of egregious data harvesting that companies can do without your significant ability to say no,” Ocasio-Cortez asserted in the video, which millions had viewed on TikTok by midday on Sunday, according to the Daily Wire.
“And usually when the United States is proposing a very major move that has something to do with significant risk to national security, one of the first things that happens is that Congress receives a classified briefing. And I can tell you that Congress has not received a classified briefing around the allegations of national security risks regarding TikTok. So why would we be proposing a ban regarding such a significant issue without being clued in on this at all? It just doesn’t feel right to me,” she declared.
She continued her ardent defense of the Chinese spy app calling a potential ban “unprecedented.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the possible Tiktok ban – it just 'doesn't feel right to me'
What also doesn't feel right is
On 12/13/22, Bytedance, Tiktok's parent company, "gave" $150K to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, of which AOC is a prominent member of pic.twitter.com/sQBYOhmytK
— Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker ♟ (@PelosiTracker_) March 27, 2023
“And additionally, this case needs to be made to the public. We are a government by the people and for the people, and if we want to make a decision as significant as banning TikTok, and we believe or someone believes that there’s really important information that the public deserves to know about why such a decision would be justified, that information should be shared with the public as well,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
“But frankly, I think a lot of this is putting the cart before the horse because our first priority should be in protecting your ability to exist without social media companies harvesting and commodifying every single piece of data about you without you and without your consent,” she said justifying her defense of the indefensible in typical fashion.
Jake Denton, who is a technology policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the advisory council for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. The nonprofit entity received $150,000 at the end of 2022 from ByteDance, according to a lobbying contribution report.
“What a coincidence,” Denton snarkily proclaimed.
Five years after unseating him, AOC is now on the same side as Rep. Joe Crowley, who is a paid TikTok lobbyist helping the Chinese company shape its outreach to Congress pic.twitter.com/Aejq44AnyF
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) March 27, 2023
American Foreign Policy Council fellow Michael Sobolik said that Ocasio-Cortez’s video echoes “TikTok’s talking points and ignores the app’s true threat: CCP-directed disinformation.”
“Extremely on brand for her to turn this into a ‘data privacy’ & social media issue, leave out the info control & influence argument, not factor in decades of documented CCP history and present a dumb case in a way that will resonate with her base,” University of Rochester computer science and economics professor Sar Haribhakti noted on Twitter as well.
The commissioner of USCC.gov, Jacob Helberg, tweeted, “Truly remarkable how in less than 3 minutes AOC managed to demonstrate her comprehensive ignorance of American law and geopolitics, while simultaneously parroting the talking points of an adversary Leninist regime AND plug her usual Blame America First message. Just wow.”
Another member of the Squad, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) defended TikTok as well according to the Daily Wire. He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and his wife, Melissa Oppenheimer, has worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which also received $150,000 from ByteDance.
“TikTok as a platform has created a community and a space for free speech for 150 million Americans and counting,” Bowman asserted last week. “It is also a place where 5 million small businesses are selling their products and services and making a living.”
President Biden and some state officials have already banned the app from government devices after reports indicated that ByteDance employees in China used the platform to monitor the locations of American users, specifically journalists.
How is AOC getting a TikTok account? I thought all government officials were not allowed to have one?
— LJ (@LJisRight) March 26, 2023
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week about the extent to which officials in China maintain authority and influence over TikTok and ByteDance, and whether they have access to the data gathered by the app. He claimed that ByteDance is not an “agent of China or any other country.”
“I am well aware that the fact that ByteDance has Chinese founders has prompted concerns that our platform could be used as or become a tool of China or the Chinese Communist Party. There have even been calls to ban us or require divestment,” the executive stated before the Congressional committee. “Divestment does not address the fundamental concerns that I have heard, as a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access. This is not an issue of nationality.”
After taking TikTok cash, Washington Post defended China-owned app as its CEO was roasted on Capitol Hill https://t.co/S1EKBt4cep pic.twitter.com/yG0hfUlWc8
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 26, 2023
Chew failed to answer clearly whether individuals associated with ByteDance helped him prepare for his testimony. He also revealed that the attorneys who represent ByteDance, represent TikTok as well.
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