Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined TikTok to support the app as Congress works to ban it over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Congress and the Biden administration have been discussing forcing the sale of TikTok or banning the social media platform over concerns that it is a national security risk.
U.S. senators have unveiled bipartisan legislation to ban the social media app nationwide — and the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Thursday.
On Saturday, the Democratic Socialist created her first video for the platform, which she also posted to Twitter.
Banning TikTok isn’t the solution to data privacy concerns. Instead, Congress needs to focus on regulating social media companies’ unchecked habit of collecting user data without their consent. pic.twitter.com/DASSeTeMCT
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 25, 2023
“This is not only my first TikTok, but it is a TikTok about TikTok,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the video. “Do I believe TikTok should be banned? No.”
“I think it’s important to discuss how unprecedented of a move this would be. The United States has never before banned a social media company from existence, from operating in our borders,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “And this is an app that has over 150 million Americans on it.”
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is based in China, leading many to believe that the app is a national security threat as it is likely giving data to the CCP.
“They say because of this egregious amount of data harvesting, we should ban this app. However, that doesn’t really address the core of the issue,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
The far-left politician defended TikTok’s data collection by saying that other platforms also collect “troves of deeply personal data,” often without the user’s knowledge.
“In fact, the United States is one of the only developed nations in then world that has no significant data or privacy protection laws on the books,” she said. “So 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.”
The lawmaker said that a ban “just doesn’t feel right” to her.
“Usually when the United States is proposing a very major move, that has something to do with signifiant risk to national security, one of the first things that happens is that Congress receives a classified briefing,” she said, which has reportedly not happened yet. “So why would we be proposing a ban regarding such a signifiant issue without being included on this at all? It just doesn’t feel right to me.”
“We are a government by the people and for the people,” she continued, adding, “I think a lot of this is putting the cart before the horse.”
“Our first priority should be in protecting your ability to exist without social media companies commodifying every single piece of data about you,” the politician said.
Last year, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission urged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over an “unacceptable national security risk.” In a letter on June 24, he wrote to Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc. and Google LLC CEO Sundar Pichai about how the app is a “sophisticated surveillance tool.”
“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funning videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr asserted in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
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